Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Bone Marrow Washing Chi Kung

John wrote to me asking,

"Hello, Mike. I have enjoyed all of your guides and articles, and know if I have a guestion I just need to go to your website and I usually always find an answer.

I have been researching Xi Sui Jing or Bone Marrow Washing. I have had no success, and wonder if you may be able to guide me in the right direction to either find a teacher, literature or video on this system. I am told there are 18 forms or exercises. Is this true?  I have non-Hodgkins lymphoma cancer and thought this may help with my chemotherapy treatments, although the doctor thinks it's a waste of time and money. Thank you."


Intelligently listen to your oncologist's "advice" about treating cancer in terms of complementary medicine and physical exercises.  Some favor exercise and others do not as a complementary therapy.  Many people do not feel much like doing qigong exercises while undergoing chemotherapy.

I can't agree with your doctor that practicing Qigong would be a waste of money since it is very inexpensive or totally free to learn and pracice.  Books and instructional DVDs are quite inexpensive these days, and free UTube video are readily available.  Some people argue that the current elaborate and extremely costly conventional medical treatments for cancer are a waste of time and money, and cause undue suffering, and decide on other options, including doing nothing (wu wei).  This makes for very difficult decisions by the patient.

Based on considerable worldwide research, people who are overweight and don't exercise and eat improperly and use unhealthy drugs have a higher incidence of poor health and diseases and die younger than people who are trim, fit, eat properly, don't use recreational drugs, and exercise regularly.  Nevertheless, I do not believe that Qigong or other fitness modalities can be of significant benefit in curing or slowing the progress of cancer; and people who actively practice Qigong may get cancer anyway.  Cancer has many causes and its appearance is currently unpredictable, although more likely above the age of 60, and cancer "cures" are actively being researched and evaluated.   There is lively debate on the subject of the best treatments for the complex and serious disease of cancer.  Read the book "The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer" by Dr. Stephen Hoye and Siddhartha Mukherje, 2010, for a thorough discussion of this important subject, although a depressing account.   

Some Qigong (Chi Kung) enthusiasts and teachers do believe that their exercises, breathing, meditation, and visualization methods do significantly help people with serious diseases, including cancer.  Medical Qigong offers clinics attempting to help people with all kinds of health problems, and schools training future Qigong medical practitioners and healers exist worldwide.  However, Caveat emptor.

High hopes that the body will heal iteself using some method is very important.  The placebo effect is a real factor.  If you have confidence that Qigong will help in your healing, then it just might work for you.

As for Bone Marrow Washing (Xi Sui Jing) Qigong:  

Gabi Greve from Japan sent me information on Daruma Bone and Marrow Washing Exercises.

Roberto Gravez recommended "The Scholar Warrior" by Deng Ming-Dao.  This book gives all 24 movements of Bone Marrow Washing Chi Kung with drawings and instructions. The book also provides guides for diet, meditation, and so forth.  Mr. Gravez criticized my skepticism about the use of qigong in healing cancer.  I agree with him that "Scholar Warrior" is a fine and useful book, and Deng Ming-Dao is a good writer and expert on Taoist matters. 

Dr. Bikum Hu in Berkeley, California, teaches Bone Marrow Washing Qigong.  

As for general well-being, an increased sense of vitality, feeling good, psycho-spiritual progress, positive visualization, and relaxation, qigong has helped many people. Most people who regularly practice qigong generally have positive comments to make about their experiences.

Yang Jwing-Ming and Mantak Chia have written books on the Bone Marrow Washing Chi Kung form, and, as I recall, give instructions on a version of the set. Yang Jwing-Ming's books are usually very informative and useful for learning forms, and have excellent, detailed background theory.

There are both harder and easier verions of the Xi Sui Jing exercise as with Shaolin White Crane Qigong. 18 Lohan Qigong, another Shaolin Qigong form, is also popular.

I'd recommend The Eight Section Brocade Qigong for a general introductory form, and you don't need to spend any extra money learning it (I explain it for free on a webpage); and, there are many free UTube verison online.  Please, don't spend more than 20 mintues a day, at first, doing the form in the early morning. Also, enjoy some walking if you feel up to it!

I find the exercises, postures, and movement routines of many "different" qigong forms to be quite similar.  Likewise, there are also many named "styles" of yoga, but the postures of physical (hatha) yoga are common and familiar, even if named differently.  For example, lunges or moving the shoulders/arms through a full range of motion are found in all qigong, taijiquan, and yoga practices.

Visualizations of energy flow inside and outside the body, philosophical emphasis, vigorous vs gentle movements, breathing instructions, and descriptions of esoteric anatomy or meridians vary more in qigong forms. 

John, my very best wishes for a long remission, improved well-being, and a peaceful soul.

Mike Garofalo

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

My Current Reading List

“Don’t just say you have read books. Show that through them you have learned to think better, to be a more discriminating and reflective person. Books are the training weights of the mind. They are very helpful, but it would be a bad mistake to suppose that one has made progress simply by having internalized their contents.”
-  Epictetus, The Art of Living 

My current reading list includes the following:

Stoicism and the Art of Happiness.  By Donald Robertson.  New York, McGraw Hill, 2013, 2015.  Index, bibliography, notes, 245 pages.  Series: Teach Yourself: Philosophy and Religion.  ISBN: 139781444187106.  VSCL.  

Meditations.  By Marcus Aurelius.  Translated by Martin Hammond.  Illustrated by Coralie Bickford-Smith.  Introduction by Diskin Clay.  Hardcover Classics.  New York, Penguin Classics, Reissue Edition, 2015.  416 pages.  ISBN: 978-0141395869.  VSCL.

Stoicism Today: Selected Writings.  By Patrick Ussher.  CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2014.  202 pages.  Volume 1.  ISBN: 978-1502401922.  VSCL.  

From Dawn to Decadence: 500 Years of Western Cultural Life 1500 to the Present.  By Professor Jacques Barzun.  New York, Harper Perennial, 2001.  912 pages.  ISBN: 978-0060928834.  VSCL.   

Philosophy as a Way of Life: Spiritual Exercises from Socrates to Foucault  By Pierre Hadot.  Edited with an introduction by Arnold Davidson.  Wiley-Blackwell, 1995.  320 pages.  ISBN: 978-0631180333.  VSCL.  

I am going to participate in the Stoic Week online workshop from November 2nd to November 8th, 2015.  You can sign up for the free workshop starting on October 26th.  The theme of the Stoic Week workshop for 2015 is: Modern-Day Meditations on Marcus Aurelius.  

How to Live a Good Life

Notebooks of an Old Philosopher 



Monday, September 28, 2015

Chen Style Taijiquan Reading

The Essence of Taijiquan.  By David Gaffney and Davidine Siaw-Voon Sim.  CreateSpace Publishing, 2012.  Interviews, bibliography, 288 pages.  ISBN: 978-1500609238.  VSCL.  

Chen Style Taijiquan: The Source of Taiji Boxing.  By Davidine Siaw-Voon Sim and David Gaffney.  Berkeley, CA, North Atlantic Books, 2002.  Index, charts, 224 pages.  ISBN: 1556433778.   Provides an excellent introduction to Chen style Taijiquan history and legends, outlines the major forms, discusses the philosophy and foundations of the art, and gives very good information on training methods, push hands, and weapons.  Very well written, highly informative, and a unique contribution to the field.  Essential reading for all learning the Chen style of Tai Chi Chuan.  The Hand Forms (Taolu) are described on pp. 110-141.  [Sim & Gaffney 2002]  VSCL.  

Gaffney and Siaw-Voon Sim are advanced Chen Taijiquan teachers.  They studied for many years with Grandmaster Chen Xiaowang in China, and with many other top Chen Taijiquan teachers.  They are very knowledgeable and highly skilled in Chen Taijiquan.  

I have been rereading "The Essence of Taijiquan."  Highly informative!  Excellent information on Taijiquan training principles, methods, and progression.  Strong emphasis upon training for combat skills.  Interesting observations about everyday life in the Chen village, ancestor respect and rituals, and overcoming the repression of the Maoist Cultural Revolution.

Chen T'ai Chi Ch'uan:  Forms, Bibliography, Weapons, Links, Resources

Chen Style Taijiquan, Old Frame First Form, Lao Jia Yi Lu
By Michael P. Garofalo.  

This webpage includes a detailed bibliography of books, media, and articles.  Extensive selection of Internet links. 
List of movement names in English, Chinese characters, Chinese Pinyin, French, German, and Spanish; and citations for sources of the movement names. 
Detailed list of DVDs and videos available online.

Extensive notes on the author's learning the Old Frame, First Routine, Lao Jia Yi Lu; and on learning Chen Style Taijiquan. 
Record of performance times of this form by many masters. 
Breakdown by sections of the form, with separate lists for each section.  General information, history, facts, information, pointers, and quotations.  

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Roads Go Ever On

As I walk 3.6 miles in the morning, four days each week, I enjoy the interplay of all the senses and the kinesthetic exuberance of the flowing movement.  The scenery along my safe rural walking path is beautiful and changing with the seasons.  While walking, I mostly am just walking, and sometimes thinking, reflecting, contemplating, or meditating.  These experiences are something I treasure.  Walking is beneficial for my heart, and helps me keep my diabetes under control.  Walking is an integral component of my regular Sadhana ... my "spiritual" practices.  

"If you want to know if your brain is flabby, feel your legs." 
-  Bruce Barton   

"Think with your whole body."
-  Taisen Deshimaru

”If you want to find the answers to the Big Questions about your soul, you’d best begin with the Little Answers about your body.”
-  George Sheehan

"Isn't it really quite extraordinary to see that, since man took his first step, no one has asked himself why he walks, how he walks, if he has ever walked, if he could walk better, what he achieves in walking .. questions that are tied to all the philosophical, psychological, and political systems which preoccupy the world."
-  Honoré de Balzac, Theorie de la Demarché   

"Roads go ever ever on,
Over rock and under tree,
By caves where never sun has shone,
By streams that never find the sea;
Over snow by winter sown,
And through the merry flowers of June,
Over grass and over stone,
And under mountains of the moon.

Roads go ever ever on
Under cloud and under star
Yet feet that wandering have gone
Turn at last to home afar.
Eyes that fire and sword have seen
An horror in the halls of stone
Look at last on meadows green
And trees and hills they long have known."
-  J. R. R. Tolkien, The Hobbit

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Stand Up and Move

A typical American watches and average of 34 hours of television each week.  A few people don’t watch television and, of course, many people watch television more than 40 hours a week.  It has been reported that children aged 2-11 watch over 24 hours of TV per week, while adults aged 35-49 watch more than 33 hours a week. The average American watches more than five hours of television every day. Once we pass 65, the typical person watches more than seven hours a day.


Sitting and watching television for five to seven hours each day?? ... how tiresome.  And, sitting for long periods is very bad for your health.  Even more, most television programs and their incessant commercials are, for me, just boring, repetitious, and tiresome. 

So, a secret revealed:  You will get, on the average, 21 hours of “free” time every week by not sitting and watching more than 2 hours of television each day.  Even better, turn off your television for a month and you will get 136 hours of free time in that month.  And, another benefit is that by not sitting you will improve your health. 

"A monk asked Hsiang Lin, "What is the meaning of the Patriarch's coming from the West?"
Hsiang Lin said, "Sitting for a long time becomes tiresome."

-  The Blue Cliff Record, Case 17, Translated by Thomas Cleary and J. C. Cleary, 2005, p 110

Standing Meditation

Walking Meditation


Ways of Walking

Taijiquan Moving Meditation

Friday, September 25, 2015

Daodejing, Chapter 78

Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu
Chapter 78

"Nothing on earth is so weak and yielding as water, but for breaking down the firm and strong it has no equal.
This admits of no alternative.
All the world knows that the soft can wear away the hard, and the weak can conquer the strong, but none can carry it out in practice.
Therefore the Sage says: He who bears the reproach of his country is really the lord of the land. He who bears the woes of the people is in truth their king.
The words of truth are always paradoxical."
-  Translated by Walter Gorn Old, 1904, Chapter 78 

to be at your best
pattern yourself after water
nothing in all the world is softer or more powerful
nothing in all the world can substitute for it
nothing in all the world can stop it

in their hearts
everyone easily knows that
the soft and the weak
will always overcome the hard and strong
but they find it difficult to live this way

the secret is to
move the bodymind like water."
-  Translated by John Bright-Fey, 2006, Chapter 78 

"What is more fluid, more yielding than water?
Yet back it comes again, wearing down the rigid strength
Which cannot yield to withstand it.
So it is that the strong are overcome by the weak,
The haughty by the humble.
This we know
But never learn,
So that when wise men tell us,
'He who bites the dust
Is owner of the earth,
He who is scapegoat
Is king,'
They seem to twist the truth."
-  Translated by Witter Bynner, 1944, Chapter 78  

"Nothing is more soft and yielding than water,
for cutting things hard and strong, nothing is better,
because it persists.
The weak can overcome the strong;
the supple can overcome the stiff.
Everyone knows this,
yet no one puts it into practice.
Therefore, the sage says:
who shoulders the humiliation of the people, fits to rule them,
who shoulder the country's disaster, deserves to be the king.
The truth often sounds paradoxical."
-  Translated by Tienzen Gong, Chapter 78

而攻堅強者, 莫之能勝,
弱之勝強, 柔之勝剛, 天下莫不知, 莫能行.
是以聖人云受國之垢, 是謂社稷主;
受國不祥, 是謂天下王.
-  Chinese characters, Chapter 78, Tao Te Ching

t'ien hsia mo jou jo yü shui,
erh kung chien ch'iang chê, mo chih nêng shêng,
ch'i wu yi yi chih.
jo chih shêng ch'iang, jou chih shêng kang, tien hsia mo pu chih, mo nêng hsing.
shih yi shêng jên yün shou kuo chih kou, shih wei shê chi chu;
shou kuo pu hsiang, shih wei t'ien hsia wang.
chêng yen jo fan.
-  Wade-Giles Romanization, Chapter 78, Tao Te Ching

"There is nothing in the world
as soft and weak as water.
But to erode the hard and strong,
nothing can surpass it;
nothing can be a substitute.
The weak can overcome the strong;
the soft can overcome the hard.
There is no-one in the world who does not know this,
but there is no-one who can put it into practice.
Those who are enlightened say:
those who bear a nation's disgrace
will become lords of its shrines to earth and grain; *
those who bear a nation's misfortune
will become kings under heaven.
True words often seem a paradox."
-  Translated by Tim Chilcott, 2005, Chapter 78 

"Nothing in the world is as soft and yielding as water.
Yet when it attacks what is strong and firm, nothing can hold up against it.
Because there is nothing as changeable as water,
Water conquers what is firm and unyielding.
By being flexible, it can conquer what is strong.
No one in this world wouldn’t be able to understand that, yet no one has the ability to carry it out.

Therefore a wise person’s words declare:
Accepting the blame for a nation’s problems is naturally referred to as being the master of what nourishes the world;
Accepting the nation’s problems as bad signs of fate is naturally referred to as being the king of the world.
These straight-spoken words seem to be backwards."
-  Translated by Nina Correa, 2005, Chapter 78

"Nada hay en el mundo más blando y suave que el agua,
 pero nada puede superarla en el combate contra lo duro y resistente,
 en esto nada puede sustituirla.
 El agua vence a lo más duro,
 lo débil vence a lo fuerte,
 no hay en el mundo quien desconozca esta razón,
 pero tampoco quien sea capaz de ponerla en práctica.

 De ahí que el sabio diga:
 'Sólo quien asume los oprobios del Estado,
 merece ser llamado señor del país.
 Sólo quien soporta las desgracias del Estado,
 merece ser llamado rey del mundo.'

 Las palabras verdaderas parecen paradójicas."
  -  Translated by Juan Ignacio Preciado, 1978, Capítulo 78

"There is nothing weaker than water,
Or easier to efface,
But for attacking the hard and the strong
Nothing can take its place.
That the tender conquers the rigid,
That the weak overcomes the strong,
The whole world knows, but in practice who
Can carry the work along?
Who bears the sins of his country,
We know from the sage's word,
Shall be called the master of sacrifice,
And hailed as its altar's lord.
Who carries his country's woes,
The curse of the land who bears,
Shall be called the king of the world; tis true,
Though a paradox it appears."
-  Translated by Isaac Winter Heysinger, 1903, Chapter 78

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 78, 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

One Old Daoist Druid's Final Journey  


Thursday, September 24, 2015

It's Over When It Ends

Yogi Berra, baseball hall of fame player, coach and manager died Tuesday at the age of 90.  He won 10 World Series championships with the New York Yankees, an 18 time All Star player, and was a three time American League Player of the Year.  He took 21 teams to the World Series as a player, manager, or coach.  He also served in the Navy during World War II.  He was a decent and humorous fellow, and many Americans, especially Italian-Americans and New Yorkers, held him in very high regard.  

Yogi was also known for his humorous stories, jokes, quotes, misquotes, and malapropisms, to wit:

"You can observe a lot by just watching.
It ain't over 'til it's over.
I’ts like déjà vu all over again.
The future ain’t what it used to be.
We made too many wrong mistakes.
When you come to a fork in the road, take it.
You should always go to other people’s funerals; otherwise, they won’t come to yours.
A nickel ain’t worth a dime anymore. 
Nobody goes there anymore.  It’s too crowded.
You better cut the pizza in four pieces because I’m not hungry enough to eat six.
You wouldn’t have won if we’d beaten you.
It gets late early out here.
Baseball is 90 percent mental.  The other half is physical.
I can’t think and hit at the same time.
I knew the record would stand until it was broken. 
We have deep depth.
If you can’t imitate him, don’t copy him.
I usually take a two hour nap from one to four.
I want to thank everyone for making this day necessary.
Never answer an anonymous letter. 
Pair up in threes. 
If people don’t want to come out to the ballpark, nobody’s going to stop them.
You’ve got to be very careful if you don’t know where you are going, because you might not get there. 

His wife of 65 years, Carmen, once asked Yogi where he wanted to be buried, in St. Louis, New York or Montclair.  "I don't know," he said. "Why don't you surprise me?"

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

T'ai Chi Ch'uan Yang Style

Yang Family Style Tai Chi Chuan Traditional Long Form
By Michael P. Garofalo.
This webpage provides a list and brief description of the 108 movements of the Yang Style Taijiquan Long Form divided into five sections for teaching (.html and .pdf versions available). The webpage includes an extensive bibliography on the subject, scores of Internet links, historical notes, and quotations. 120Kb.

The Yang Long Form discussed on this webpage conforms to the form developed by Yang Cheng-Fu (1883-1936) and documented in books by Bu Fu Zongwen (1903-1994) and Yang Zhenduo. The numbering of the movements varies from author to author, but the essential sequence and moves remains the same.

Doing some research on the Yang style of T'ai Chi Ch'uan (85 and 24). Two books have caught me eye:

Mastering Yang Style Taijiquan.  Bu Fu Zongwen (1903-1994).  Translated by Louis Swaim.  Berkeley, California, North Atlantic Books, 1999.  Glossary, bibliography, 226 pages.  Translations of many Tai Chi classics are included.  A list of the 85 movement long form and detailed notes and descriptions of each movement are provided.  251 movement analysis illustrations.  Over 76 of the illustrations are traced and drawn from photographs of Yang Cheng-Fu.  Detailed descriptions of the long form, pp. 26-162.  Push hands information.  Yang Tai Chi essentials.  ISBN: 1556433182.  I have found this to be an excellent book!  This book was first published in 1963 in China as "Yang Shi Taijiquan".  An informative introduction and good translation by Louis Swaim.  VSCL.    
Taijiquan.  By Li Deyin.  London, Singing Dragon, 2004, 2008.  In English.  402 pages.  ISBN: 9781848190047, 1848190042.  Includes a complimentary DVD.  Includes descriptions, with photographs, of the 81 Yang Taijiquan form, Simplified 24 Taijiquan, Competition 42 Taijiquan, Competition 42 Taiji Sword, and the 32 Taiji Sword.  The Yang long form (81 Steps) includes photographs of Li Yulin performing the Yang long form in 1931.  Li Yulin and Li Jinglin, under the supervision of Yang Chengfu, were preparing a book on the subject later published under the title "Textbook of Taijiquan."  The 81 form is described in detail in this new book by Li Deyin.  

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Awareness of Unity

"For the Eastern mystic, all things and events perceived by the senses are interrelated, connected and are but different aspects or manifestations of the same ultimate reality.  Our tendency to divide the perceived world into individual and separate things and to experience ourselves as isolated egos in this world is seen as an illusion which comes from our measuring and categorizing mentally.  It is called avidya, or ignorance, in Buddhist philosophy and is seen as the sate of a disturbed mind which has to be overcome.

'When the mind is disturbed, the multiplicity of things is produced, but when the mind is quieted, the multiplicity of things disappears.'

Although the various schools of Eastern mysticism differ in many details, they all emphasize the basic unity of the universe which is the central feature of their teachings.  The highest aim for their followers - whether they are Hindus, Buddhists or Taoists - is to become aware of the unity and mutual interdependence of all things, to transcend the notion of an isolated individual self and to identify themselves with the ultimate reality.  The emergence of this awareness - known as 'enlightenment'- is not only an intellectual act but is an experience which involves the whole person and is religious in its ultimate nature.  For this reason, most Eastern philosophies are essentially religious philosophies."
-  Fritjof Capra, The Tao of Physics, 25th Anniversary Edition, p. 24  

   In my experience, life is rightly characterized as diverse, complicated, varied, rich in multiplicity, saturated with the 'ten thousand things.'  Personally, I find little need to seek or to find or to have the "experience of unity."  This state of "unification," when actualized, is in most cases rather fleeting.  It may be profound, but no more so that the beauty of complexity and the fascinating reality of diversity.  I do not find the experience of the multiplicity of things distressing, disturbing, or disheartening.  

Just because all of the eggs today are in one basket does not make the colored basket more real or more interesting or more valuable than the eggs.  

Ignoring the facticity of the complexity of the natural and mental realms seems to me a more serious ignorance, not very sensible, and ultimately unwise.  I long ago gave up on any quest for "enlightenment" (in Hindu or Buddhist terms) and prefer the ordinary state of mind grounded in a world that is not simple, not one, not unified, complex, and rich in details.  To claim that our normal experience of complexity and variety is an "illusion" or "ignorance (avidya) seems to me a form of incorrect judgment.  

No doubt, trying to simplify one's life has its benefits, reducing sensory overload can reduce stress, and not becoming overly infatuated with novelty can be helpful; but, pushing on this strange path towards the "enlightenment" or "realization" of a pure and uncluttered "Unity" can produce its own distressing and disturbing predicaments for a person.  

Many philosophers, ancient and modern, have made a sharp distinction between appearances and Reality, the many and the One, the phenomena and the Noumena, and multiplicity and Unity.  For me, it is muddled thinking to call all of our experiences "just fleeting illusions" and fabricate a true realm of being outside of our personal and social and practical experiences.  Indeed, we can't "see" in any ordinary sense of "see," the cells, molecules, atoms, and the subatomic particles that constitute the objects of our macro-cosmic world; but, this in no way means the multiplicity of objects in our ordinary environment are in any way "illusions."  The meaning of "objects" is much more complicated, varied in linguistic usage, and functional in many practical contexts.  Again, complexity is closer to the truth.  

"I, who make no other profession, find in myself such infinite depth and variety, that what I have learned bears no other fruit than to make me realize how much I still have to learn.  To my weakness, so often perceived, I owe my inclination to coolness in my opinions and any hatred for that aggressiveness and quarrelsome arrogance that believes and trust wholly in itself, a mortal enemy of discipline and truth."
- Michel de Montaigne, "Of Experience," 1588

Our selves are, to Montaigne, "wavelike and varying" - ondoyant et divers

Complexity and Diversity 

Nature Mysticism:  Resources, Quotes, Notes

Gardening and Mysticism

Monday, September 21, 2015

Temple Chi Kung Exercise Set

The Temple Qigong (Chi Kung) form consists of nine exercises.  It was popularized by Grand Master Marshall Ho'o (1910-1993) of Los Angeles, California.  It is also referred to as the Nine Temple Exercises, or the Marshall Ho'o Temple Exercises.  

My webpage on Temple Qigong provides a bibliography, links, the names of the movements, and an explanation of each movement.  

Marshall Ho'o wrote a book 1968 which included an explanation with photographic illustrations of the Temple Qigong set.  The black and white photos in that book were of poor quality and the editing was unsatisfactory.  An instructional DVD also teaches this form.  

"Dr. Ho'o was instrumental in the certification of acupuncture in the State of California. He was the first Tai Chi Master to have been elected to the Black Belt Hall of Fame.  He was Dean of the Aspen Academy of Martial & Healing Arts, on the faculty of California Institute of the Arts, and taught Tai Chi and Acupressure at many educational institutions.  In 1973, he created a series for KCET public television, in Los Angeles, teaching Tai Chi.  He was a consultant to Prevention Magazine's The Doctor's Book of Home Remedies.  A Chinese American, Dr. Ho'o was America's first Tai Chi Chuan Grandmaster.  His influence is far-reaching in both the fields of healing and martial arts."
The Lineage, Teachers of Two Birds Tai Chi

Tai Chi Chuan  By Marshall Hoo.  Burbank, California, Ohara Publications, Inc., 1986, 1993.  111 pages.  ISBN: 0897501098.  VSCL.  The Nine Temple exercise set is briefly described in this book on pages 18-42.  Each movement is clearly illustrated by four to eight clear black and white photographs of a woman doing the form.  The Taijiquan is the Standard 24 Form in the Yang Style. 

Tai Chi Chuan: The 27 forms by Marshall Hoo .   Instructional DVD, released in 2005, by Marshall Ho'o.  Black Belt Videos, 90 minutes.  Includes the Nine Temple Qigong.   

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Death Comes and Whispers to You

"Under the harvest moon,
When the soft silver
Drips shimmering
Over the garden nights,
Death, the gray mocker,
Comes and whispers to you
As a beautiful friend
Who remembers."
-  Carl Sandburg, Under the Harvest Moon

"In that open field
If you do not come too close, if you do not come too close,
On a summer midnight, you can hear the music
Of the weak pipe and the little drum
And see them dancing around the bonfire
The association of man and woman
In daunsinge, signifying matrimonie—
A dignified and commodiois sacrament.
Two and two, necessarye coniunction,
Holding eche other by the hand or the arm
Whiche betokeneth concorde. Round and round the fire
Leaping through the flames, or joined in circles,
Rustically solemn or in rustic laughter
Lifting heavy feet in clumsy shoes,
Earth feet, loam feet, lifted in country mirth
Mirth of those long since under earth
Nourishing the corn. Keeping time,
Keeping the rhythm in their dancing
As in their living in the living seasons
The time of the seasons and the constellations
The time of milking and the time of harvest
The time of the coupling of man and woman
And that of beasts. Feet rising and falling.
Eating and drinking. Dung and death.

Dawn points, and another day
Prepares for heat and silence. Out at sea the dawn wind
Wrinkles and slides. I am here
Or there, or elsewhere. In my beginning."
-   T. S. Eliot,  Four Quartets, East Coker No. 2, 1, 1940 

Autumnal Equinox in Red Bluff California, North Sacramento Valley, California, U.S.A. is on
Wednesday, September 23, 2015.  

Full Moon, September 27, 2015

Months and Seasons
Quotes, Poems, Sayings, Verses, Lore, Myths, Holidays
Celebrations, Folklore, Reading, Links, Quotations
Information, Weather, Gardening Chores
Compiled by Mike Garofalo


Saturday, September 19, 2015

Trying to Remember That

"Straight up from this road
Away from the fitted particles of frost
Coating the hull of each chick pea,
And the stiff archer bug making its way
In the morning dark, toe hair by toe hair,
Up the stem of the trillium,
Straight up through the sky above this road right now,
The galaxies of the Cygnus A cluster
Are colliding with each other in a massive swarm
Of interpenetrating and exploding catastrophes.
I try to remember that."
-  Pattiann Rogers, Firekeeper

"God is the experience of looking at a tree and saying, "Ah!""
-  Joseph Campbell  

“The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.”
-  William Butler Yeats

Awe, Wonder, Amazement: Quotations, Sayings, Poems

Friday, September 18, 2015

Chapter 79, Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu

Daodejing, Laozi
Chapter 79

"Compromise with great resentment will surely yield lingering resentment;
How can this be seen as good?
For this reason,
The sage holds the debtor's side of a contract and does not make claims upon others.
The man of integrity attends to his debts;
The man without integrity attends to his exactions.
The Way of heaven is impartial, yet is always with the good person."
-  Translated by Victor H. Mair, 1990, Chapter 79 

"harmonizing great resentments and injuries
requires a soft but steady equilibrium
but even in a gentle balancing of the scales
some friction and pain will always remain
harmony can still be reached
if the sage wise man doesn't push
for complete unity
the sage wise man come to understand that flawless justice
is impossible
so he holds an even temperament instead
great knowledge comes from the left hand
holding something broken an flawed
accept the small inequities
a bodymind embracing the tao way of life
doesn't need perfection
a bodymind rejects the tao way of life
striving for perfection
heaven lends its strength to those who
follow the natural laws of the universe."
-  Translated by John Bright-Fey, Chapter 79  

"Reconciliation of a great grudge
Surely will leave some ill-will.
How can this be considered as good?
Therefore, the sage holds the left-hand part of the contract and does not blame the other person.
The man with virtue is likely to keep the contract;
The man without virtue is likely to collect the tax.
The way of Heaven has no favor;
It is constantly with the good man."
-  Translated by Yi Wu, Chapter 79 

"Return love for great hatred.
Otherwise, when a great hatred is reconciled, some of it will surely remain.
How can this end in goodness?
Therefore the Sage holds to the left half of an agreement, but does not exact what the other holder ought to do.
The virtuous resort to agreement.
The virtueless resort to exaction.
The Tao of heaven shows no partiality;
It abides always with good men."
-  Translated by Ch'u Ta-Kao, 1904, Chapter 79  

和大怨, 必有餘怨,
-  Chinese characters, Chapter 79, Tao Te Ching

he da yuan, bi you yu yuan,
an ke yi wei shan?
shi yi sheng ren zhi zuo qi
er bu ze yu ren.
you de si qi,
wu de si che.
tian dao wu qin,
chang yu shan ren.
-  Pinyin Romanization, Chapter 79, Daodejing


"There's little good in making peace
If resentment lingers
You'll never see an end to blame
If everyone is pointing fingers

It's better to be pointing
At the peaceful and creative place
Where you see naught but emptiness
And others say they see your face."
-  Translated by Jim Clalfelter, 2000, Chapter 79 

"You can resolve great rancor, but rancor always lingers on.
Understanding the more noble way,
a sage holds the creditor's half of contracts
and yet asks nothing of others.
Those with Integrity tend to such contracts;
those without Integrity tend to the collection of taxes.
The Way of heaven is indifferent, always abiding with people of nobility."
-  Translated by David Hinton, Chapter 79  

"When the principle of a dispute has been settled some accessory grievances always remain,
and things do not return to the state they were in before. 
Therefore, the Sage never questions it, despite his right.
Keeping his half of the agreement, he does not exact the execution of what is written.
He who knows how to conduct himself after the Virtue of the Principle, lets his written agreements sleep.
He who does not know how to conduct himself thus, exacts his due.
Heaven is impartial.
If it were capable of some partiality, it would give advantage to good people.
It would overwhelm them, because they ask for nothing."
-  Translated by Derek Bryce, 1999, Chapter 79 

"El que consigue apaciguar un gran resentimiento, siempre deja subsistir algún resentimiento.
¿Esto puede considerarse un bien?
Por esto, el santo guarda la mitad izquierda de la talla, pero no reclama nada a los demás. 
El que tiene la virtud no tiene interés más que por la talla,
El que no tiene la virtud not tiene interés más que por percibir lo que se le debe.
El camino del cielo ignora el favoritismo, recompensa siempre al hombre de bien."
-  Translated by Alba, 1998, Capítulo 79  

"When a bad grudge is settled,
Some enmity is bound to remain.
How can this be considered acceptable?
Therefore the Sage keeps to his side of the contract
But does not hold the other party to their promise.
He who has Virtue will honour the contract,
Whilst he who is without Virtue expects others to meet their obligations.
It is the Way of Heaven to be impartial;
It stays always with the good man."
-  Translated by Keith Seddon, Chapter 79

"When a great wound is healed,
There will still remain a scar.
Can this be a desirable state of affairs?
Therefore, the Sage, holding the left-hand tally,
Performs his part of the covenant,
But lays no claims upon others.
The virtuous attends to his duties;
The virtueless knows only to levy duties upon the people.
The Way of Heaven has no private affections,
But always accords with the good."
-  Translated by John C. H. Wu, 1961, Chapter 79 

A typical webpage created by Mike Garofalo for each one of the 81 Chapters (Verses) 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 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 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.   

Chapter 79, 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

One Old Daoist Druid's Final Journey  


Thursday, September 17, 2015

Tai Chi Chi Kung Shibashi

The Tai Chi Qigong Shibashi Series was created by Professor Lin Hou Sheng from China.  Part 1, 18 movements (Shi Ba Shi) was created in 1979.  Part 2, 18 movements, was created in 1988.  Four more Tai Chi Qigong 18 movement sets were created in the 1990's.  Professor Lin's best selling book, Qi Gong is the Answer to Health, was first published in 1985 in China.  

The movements are done slowly, gently, and deliberately.  Deep breathing is coordinated carefully with each movement sequence.  There is little or no movement of the feet.  Suitable for persons of all ages.  A number of the hand movements are similar to those used in Yang style Taijiquan.   

Tai Chi Qigong Shibashi: Bibliography, Links, Videos, Lessons, Resources
By Mike Garofalo.

The Theory and Practice of Taiji Qigong.  By Chris Jarmey.  North Atlantic Books, 2005.  192 pages.

Part 1, Eighteen Movements (Shibashi) Qigong, Tai Chi Qigong

1.   Awakening the Qi
2.   Opening the Chest   
3.   Painting the Rainbow
4.   Separating the Clouds
5.   Cycling the Arms
6.   Paddle a Boat 
7.   Lifting the Sun  
8.   Turn the Body and Look at the Moon  
9.   Push the Palms  
10.  Rolling Tai Ji  
11.  Lift and Spray the Water  
12.  Push the Wave  
13.  Let the Dove Free  
14.  Punching the Mud  
15.  Flying Wild Goose  
16.  Hug and Swing the Sun  
17.  Bounce the Ball  
18.  Quieting the Qi  

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Silk Reeling Exercises (Chan Si Gong)

"Silk reeling (pinyin chánsīgōng, Wade-Giles ch'an2 ssu1 kung1 ), also called "Winding Silk Power" (chansijing) (纏絲), as well as "Foundational Training"(jibengong), refers to a set of neigong exercises frequently used by the Chen style, Wu style and some other styles of T'ai Chi Ch'uan. The name derives from the metaphorical principle of "reeling the silk from a silk worm's cocoon". In order to draw out the silk successfully the action must be smooth and consistent without jerking or changing direction sharply. Too fast, the silk breaks, too slow, it sticks to itself and becomes tangled. Hence, the silk reeling movements are continuous, cyclic patterns performed at constant speed with the "light touch" of drawing silk.
In common with all Qigong exercises, the patterns are performed in a concentrated, meditative state with an emphasis on relaxation. However, rather than being isolated exercises purely for health benefits, the focus is on strengthening and training the whole body coordination (nei jin) and grounded body alignment that is used in the Tai Chi form and pushing hands. Silk reeling is commonly used in Chen style as a warmup before commencing Tai Chi form practice, but its body mechanics are also a requirement of Chen Style Tai Chi throughout the forms. In other styles, silk reeling is only introduced to advanced levels. Many schools, especially those not associated with the orthodox Tai Chi families, don't train it at all."
- Silk Reeling - Wikipedia

Dragon Qigong

Silk Reeling
Bibliography, Quotes, Notes, Videos.  Compiled by Mike Garofalo. 

Chan Ssu Gong, Chan Szu Chin, Chan Ssu Kung, Chan Si Gong, Chan Si Jing
Chen Style Taijiquan and Qigong
Spiraling Energy Exercises, Spiral Energy Qigong