Saturday, April 30, 2016

Chen Tai Chi Short form

I have enjoyed practicing this short Chen Taijiquan form for the past seven years.  It was developed by Grandmaster Chen Zhenglei.

Chen Taijiquan Short 18 Movement Form Webpage

List of Movements of the Chen Taijiquan 18 Movement Short Form

Chen Taijiquan Old Frame First Form Laojia Yilu Webpage

Chen Style Tai Chi Essential 18 Postures with Patrick Martin.  Instructional DVD, 2 DVDs, 238 minutes.  Disk 1, 130 Minutes.  Jade Dragon Tai Chi International, Empty Circle Productions, 2008.  VSCL.  Patrick Martin is a student of Grandmaster Chen Zhenglei, and has been practicing and teaching Chen style Tai Chi for the last 20 years.  Detailed instructions for each movement sequence.  This DVD would be my first choice for an excellent instructional DVD on the Chen 18 Form.  However, this excellent DVD may be difficult to obtain.  

I favor instructional DVDs where: 1) there is a menu to sections of instruction, 2) there are detailed and complete verbal and physical instructions on how to do each section of the form, 3) all instructions are in English only, 3) there is a recap of each section with both side and back views of a performance of the part of the form explained in that section, 4) there is a summary complete performance of the form taught from multiple views.  A good instructor helps you learn the form, and they may not be a "Master" or "Grand Master."  A demonstration of the form, as you might find on UTube, is useful after you have learned to perform the Taijiquan or Qigong form on your own.  Learning from DVD with a Chinese speaker, with English subtitles, is difficult for me to follow; and, voice-over translation can get confusing.  I favor instructional DVDs from Ken Jullette, Jesse Tsao, Yang Jwing-Ming, Paul Lam, and Jiang Jian-ye ... among others.  

Here is a beautifully performed version of the Chen Style Taijiquan 18 Form by Sifu Mark Ditcher from Poole, England.  Fantastic!!   I take this interpretation of the Chen Taijiquan 18 Form as my standard.  I look at this video quite often to refresh my memory and help me improve.  

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Stoic Spiritual Exercises

"  "Spiritual exercises."  The expression is a bit disconcerting for the contemporary reader.  In the first place, it is no longer quite fashionable these days to use the word "spiritual."  It is nevertheless necessary to use this term, I believe, because none of the other adjectives we could use — "psychic," "moral," "ethical," "intellectual," "of thought," "of the soul" — covers all the aspects of the reality we want to describe.  Since, in these exercises, it is though which, as it were, takes itself as its own subject-matter, and seeks to modify itself, it would be possible for us to speak in terms of "thought exercises."  Yet the word "thought" does not indicate clearly enough that imagination and sensibility play a very important role in these exercises.  For the same reason, we cannot be satisfied with "intellectual exercises," although such intellectual factors as definition, division, ratiocination, reading, investigation, and rhetorical amplification play a large role in them.  "Ethical exercises" is a rather a tempting expression, since, as we shall see, the exercises in question contribute in a powerful way to the therapeutics of the passions, and have to do with the conduct of life.  Yet, here again, this would be too limited a view of things.  As we can glimpse through Friedmann's text, these  exercises in fact correspond to a transformation of our vision of the world, and to a metamorphosis of our personality.  The word "spiritual" is quite apt to make us understand that these exercises are the result, not merely of thought, but of the individuals entire psychism.  Above all, the word "spiritual" reveals the true dimensions of these exercises.  By means of them, the individual raises himself up to the life of the objective Spirit; that is to say, he re-places himself within the perspective of the Whole ("Become eternal by transcending yourself.")"
-  Pierre Hadot, Philosophy as a Way of Life, 1995, p. 81; Spiritual Exercises, pp. 81-125. 

Stoicism  A hypertext notebook by Michael P. Garofalo.  

Virtues and the Good Life

Stoic Philosophers and Spiritual Exercises

Pierre Hadot (1922 - 1910) 

"These exercises, involving not just the intellect or reason, but all a human being's faculties, including emotion and imagination, had the same goal as all ancient philosophy: reducing human suffering and increasing happiness, by teaching people to detach themselves from their particular, egocentric, individualistic viewpoint and become aware of their belonging, as integral component parts, to the Whole constituted by the entire cosmos. In its fully developed form, exemplified in such late Stoics as Epictetus and Marcus Aurelius, this change from our particularistic perspective to the universal perspective of reason had three main aspects. First, by means of the discipline of thought, we are to strive for objectivity; since, as the Stoics believe, what causes human suffering is not so much things in the world, but our beliefs about those things, we are to try to perceive the world as it is in itself, without the subjective coloring we automatically tend to ascribe to everything we experience ("That's lovely," "that's horrible," "that's ugly," "that's terrifying," etc., etc.). Second, in the discipline of desire, we are to attune our individual desires with the way the universe works, not merely accepting that things happen as they do, but actively willing for things to happen precisely the way they do happen. This attitude is, of course, the ancestor of Nietzsche’s “Yes” granted to the cosmos, a “yes” which immediately justifies the world's existence.  Finally, in the discipline of action, we are to try to ensure that all our actions are directed not just to our own immediate, short-term advantage, but to the interests of the human community as a whole.  Hadot finally came to believe that these spiritual attitudes—“spiritual” precisely because they are not merely intellectual, but involve the entire human organism, but one might with equal justification call them “existential” attitudes—and the practices or exercises that nourished, fortified and developed them, were the key to understanding all of ancient philosophy. In a sense, the grandiose physical, metaphysical, and epistemological structures that separated the major philosophical schools of Antiquity—Platonism, Aristotelianism, Stoicism, Epicureanism—were mere superstructures, intended to justify the basic philosophical attitude. Hadot deduced this, among other considerations, from the fact that many of the spiritual exercises of the various schools were highly similar, despite all their ideological differences: thus, both Stoics and Epicureans recommended the exercise of living in the present."
-  Michael Chase, Remembering Pierre Hadot

Stoic Spiritual Exercises.  By Elen Buzaré.  2010.  32 pages.  PDF File. 

Dismantling the Self: Deleuze, Stoicism and Spiritual Exercises.  By Luke Skrebowski, 2005, 18 pages, PDF File.

Philosophical Therapeutics: Pierre Hadot and Ancient Philosophy as a Way of Life.  By Christopher Vitale, Networkologies, 2012.  

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


Tuesday, April 26, 2016

A Will for the Good

"Laetus in praesens animus quod ultra est oderit curare et amara lento temperet risu.  Nihil est ab omni parte beatum.
Joyful let the soul be in the present, let it disdain to trouble about what is beyond and temper bitterness with a laugh.  Nothing is blessed forever."
-  Horace

"To educate yourself for the feeling of gratitude means to take nothing for granted, but to always seek out and value the kind that will stand behind the action.  Nothing that is done for you is a matter of course.  Everything originates in a will for the good, which is directed at you.  Train yourself never to put off the word or action for the expression of gratitude."
-  Albert Schweitzer  

"The clearest sign of wisdom is continued cheerfulness."
-  Michel Montaigne  

"All our moments are last moments.   We abide in the forever leaving of our own coming?  We can put our hands together, palm to palm, settling here on the last leaf of our brief flight, and bow to the wonder of it."
-  Jen Jensen, Bowing to Receive the Mountain, 1997 

Ten Positive Energy Prescriptions
"1.  Awaken intuition and rejuvenate yourself.
2.  Find a nurturing spiritual path.
3.  Design an energy-aware approach to diet, fitness and health.
4.  Generate positive emotional energy to counter negativity.
5.  Develop a heart-centered sexuality.
6.  Open yourself to the flow of inspiration and creativity. 
7.  Celebrate the sacredness of laughter, pampering, and the replenishment of retreat.
8.  Attract positive people and situations.
9.  Protect yourself from energy vampires.
10.  Create abundance."

-  Judith Orloff, M.D..  
   Positive Energy, 

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Slow Down Time

I've been resting at home for four days, trying to recover from acute bronchitis. The coughing, general fatigue, and discomfort have been trying for a 70 year old man.  Hopefully, recovery is coming - albeit slowly.  

I missed the Chen Tai Chi Workshop in Sacramento this weekend because of this health problem.  Bad luck!

Can't think as clearly as I would like.  If the lungs don't work well, the brain does not work as well.  

Tai Chi Classes in Red Bluff in 2016

Morning Outdoor Taijiquan and Qigong Classes
Yang Style Taijiquan 24 and 37 Form, Qigong, Cane, Push Hands
Saturday, 7:30 am - 8:45 am
Saturday, 9:00 am - 10:15 am
Fees:  $10-$25, Barter, Sliding Scale Options, Negotiated
Location: At the Valley Spirit Center, Red Bluff, CA

Evening Indoor Taijiquan and Qigong Classes
Yang Style Taijiquan 24 Form and 37 Form, Qigong, Cane, Push Hands
Tuesday 6:35 pm - 7:35 pm
Thursday  6:35 pm - 7:35 pm
Location: At the Tehama Family Fitness Center in Red Bluff
$5.00 per class, Free to TFFC Members

Evening Indoor Hatha Yoga and Qigong Classes

Monday 5:30 - 6:30 pm
Tuesday 5:30 - 6:30 pm
Thursday 5:30 - 6:30 pm
Location: At the Tehama Family Fitness Center in Red Bluff
$5.00 per class, Free to TFFC Members

Instructor:  Mike Garofalo, M.S.  

Friday, April 22, 2016

Dao De Jing, Chapter 76

Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu
Chapter 76

"A man living is yielding and receptive.
Dying, he is rigid and inflexible.
All Things, the grass and trees:
Living, they are yielding and fragile;
Dying, they are dry and withered.
Thus those who are firm and inflexible
Are in harmony with dying.
Those who are yielding and receptive
Are in harmony with living.
Therefore an inflexible strategy will not triumph;
An inflexible tree will be attacked.
The position of the highly inflexible will descend;
The position of the yielding and receptive will ascend."
-  Translated by R. L. Wing, 1986, Chapter 76 

"Human beings are
soft and supple when alive,
stiff and straight when dead.
The myriad creatures, grasses and trees are
soft and supple when alive,
dry and withered when dead.
Therefore it is said:
the rigid person is a disciple of death;
the soft, supple and delicate are lovers of life.
The army that is inflexible will not conquer;
the tree that cannot bend will snap!
The unyielding and mighty will be brought low;
the soft, supple and delicate will rise above them."
-  Translated by Jerry C. Welch, 1998, Chapter 76   

"The living are soft and yielding;
the dead are rigid and stiff.
Living plants are flexible and tender;
the dead are brittle and dry.
Those who are stiff and rigid
are the disciple of death.
Those who are soft and yielding
are the disciples of life.
The rigid and stiff will be broken.
The soft and yielding will overcome."
-  Translated by John H. McDonald, 1996, Chapter 76   

"When a person is living they are soft and easy to bend. 
When they are dead, they become hard and stiff. 
When a plant is living, it is soft and tender. 
When it is dead, it becomes withered and dry.

The hard and stiff belongs to the company of the dead. 
The soft and easy to bend belongs to the company of the living.

A mighty army can to fall by its own weight,
Just as dry wood is ready for the ax.

The mighty and great will be put low;
The humble and weak will be raised high."
-  Translated by J. L. Trottier, 1994, Chapter 76 

-  Chinese characters, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 76

jên chih shêng yeh jou jo.
ch'i ssu yeh chien ch'iang.
wan wu ts'ao mu chih shêng yeh jou ts'ui.
ch'i ssu yeh k'u kao.
ku chien ch'iang chê ssu chih t'u. 
jou jo chê shêng chih t'u. 
shih yi ping ch'iang tsê pu shêng.
mu ch'iang tsê ping. 
ch'iang ta ch'u hsia.
jou jo ch'u shang.
-  Wade-Giles Romanization (1892), Tao Te Ching, Chapter 76

"When people are born, they are soft and yielding.
When people die, they are stiff and unyielding.
Ten-thousand things (everything) like grass and trees, when they are born, they  are soft and supple.
When they die, they are rigid and dry.
Stiffness and unyielding are death’s companions.
Softness and yielding are life’s companions.
Unyielding armies will not win.
Unyielding trees become weapons.
Great strength dwells below.
Weakness dwells above."
-  Translated by Alan Sheets, 2002, Chapter 76 

"Abstain from Hardness
Chieh Ch'iang

Man is soft and weak at birth;
At death he is hard and rigid.
The ten thousand things, herbs and trees,
Are soft and delicate when growing up;
In dying, they wither and look haggard.
Thus hardness and rigidity are companions of death;
Softness and weakness are companions of life.
Therefore armies, having become rigid, will not win;
Trees, having become rigid, will break asunder.
The big and rigid will be laid low;
The soft and weak will be lifted up."
-  Translated by Henry Wei, 1982, Chapter 76

"El hombre al nacer es blando y débil;
cuando muere, rígido, firme y duro.
Las diez mil plantas y árboles son tiernos y frágilesal nacer;
cuando mueren están secos y consumidos.
De ahí el dicho:
'La firmeza y la dureza,
son atributos de la muerte;
la blandura y la debilidad,
son atributos de la vida.'
Por esta razón las armas fuertes no vencen,
el árbol vigoroso muere.
Lo firme y lo grande ocupan el lugar inferior;
lo blando y lo débil, el superior."
  -  Translated by Juan Ignacio Preciado, 1978, Capítulo 76  

"A living person is gentle and tender, while a dying person is rigid and hard.
A living plant is gentle and tender, while a dying plant is dry and withered.
Thus, one who is rigid and hard is on the way to die.
One who is gentle and tender is on the way to live.
Thus, a strong army will soon be annihilated.
A hard stick of wood will soon be broken.
A piece of hard leather will soon be split.
Teeth are stronger than lips, yet the teeth decay first.
Therefore, hardness and strength are inferior, gentleness and tenderness are superior."
-  Translated by Tang Zi-Chang, Chapter 76 

"Alive, a man is supple, soft;
In death, unbending, rigorous.
All creatures, grass and trees, alive
Are plastic but are pliant too,
And dead, are friable and dry.
Unbending rigor is the mate of death,
And wielding softness, company of life:
Unbending soldiers get no victories;
The stiffest tree is readiest for the axe.
The strong and mighty topple from their place;
The soft and yielding rise above them all."
-  Translated by Raymond Blakney, 1955, Chapter 76  

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 76, 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  

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Mystical Experience: Sakipata

"My own experience of śaktipāta occurred at the age of 16 through meeting a powerful and loving meditation master.  It was not the product of wishful thinking, because I didn't even want to be there, at least on the level of the conscious mind.  My mother had persuaded me to take a two-day meditation retreat and I had acceded because I wanted the reward she was offering me; I had neither expectation nor hope that anything particularly magical would happen.  And indeed, the whole thing was fairly boring, though in the final meditation of the weekend, I did make a grudging effort to be fully present in the warm, dark stillness of the meditation room.  It was nice, but nothing special, until I opened my eyes and walked outside.  I was astonished to discover that the whole world had apparently changed.  Everything was more vivid and real, and almost sparkling.  Not only that, I was feeling an incredible energy in my heart, and it was flowing palpably between my heart and the hearts of everyone else I could see.  I call it "energy" for lack of a better word; it was a tangible power or force, not a passive feeling, and it had the nature of exquisitely pure love.  It was connecting the hearts of all the people around me, coursing freely in a kind of web or grid of power, entirely independent of whether the people liked each other or not.  Then I noticed it was really everywhere; the very air around me seemed thick with it; it was undoubtedly the most "real" thing in reality, though not perceptible with any of the five senses!  It was astonishing, and I was never the same, now that I knew this power, this love beyond anything I had ever imagined, was a real possibility in human life."
-  Christopher D. Wallis, Tantra Illuminated, 2012, p.323

Tantra Illuminated: The Philosophy, History, and Practice of a Timeless Tradition   By Christopher D. Wallis, M.A.  Illustrations by Ekabhumi Ellik.  Woodlands, Texas, Anusara Press, 2012.  Index, endnotes, bibliography, three appendices, 506 pages.  ISBN: 978-1937104016.  VSCL.  In 2012, the author was a Ph.D. candidate in Sanskrit at the University of California, Berkeley.  This book takes as its exemplar and focal point the lineages of nondual Śaiva Tantra most clearly typified by the Kaula Trika lineage.  Written for the educated lay reader.  The author shares his personal life, his spiritual life, his practices, his yoga, within this tradition of Tantra.   

Tantra: Path of Ecstasy  By Georg Feuerstein (1947-2012), Ph.D.  Boston, Shambhala, 1998.  Index, bibliography, notes, 314 pages.  ISBN: 157062304X.  VSCL.  An excellent introduction to Tantra, and a great starting point for readers.  I own, and have read and reread in the last ten years nearly all of the books by Dr. Georg Feuerstein.  If my understanding is correct, Dr. Feuerstein personally followed the path of Vajrayana Buddhism, a Tibetan Buddhist tradition, a lineage of Tantric Buddhism.  

"Tantra's body-positive approach is the direct outcome of its integrative metaphysics according to which this world is not mere illusion but a manifestation of the supreme Reality.  If the world is real, the body must be real as well.  If the world is in essence divine, so must be the body.  If we must honor the world as a creation or an aspect of the divine Power (shakti), we must likewise honor the body.  The body is a piece of the world and, as we shall see, the world is a piece of the body.  Or, rather, when we truly understand the body, we discover that it is the world, which in essence is divine."
-  Georg Feuerstein, Tantra: The Path of Ecstasy, p. 53  

Somaesthetic Practices and Theory

Tantra: Bibliography, Quotations, Links, Resources

Nature and Spirituality 

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Yi Jin Jing Qigong

Yi Jin Jing

The Yi Jin Jing Qigong is a popular qigong exercise set from China. "Yi Jin Jing Qigong" means "Muscle and Tendon Transforming Exercises."

In most cases, this qigong regimen consists of 12 movement sequences. There are some versions of the Yi Jin Jing with many more movements (22, 49, 108, 216). Some of the longer versions of the Yi Jin Jing include movements from the Eight Section Brocade Routine, the Animal Frolics Routines, the Louhan Routine, or the Bone Marrow and Brain Washing Routine.

Most people practice a 12 movement version of the Yi Jin Jing that was described in a book published by Pan Weiru in 1858 called "Essential Techniques for Guarding Life." Also, Wang Zuyuan published a book in the 1880's titled "Illustrated Exposition of Internal Techniques" that described the same qigong routine as did Pan Weiru. 

Names of the Yi Jin Jing Qigong Movements
Opening Form
1. Wei Tuo Presenting the Pestle 1
2. Wei Tuo Presenting the Pestle 2
3. Wei Tuo Presenting the Pestle 3
4. Plucking Stars on Each Side
5. Pulling Nine Cows by Their Tails
6. Showing Talons and Spreading Wings
7. Nine Ghosts Drawing Sabers
8. Sinking the Three Bodily Zones
Three Plates Falling on the Floor

9. Black Dragon Displaying Its Claws
10. Tiger Springing On Its Prey
11. Bowing Down in Salutation
12. Swinging the Tail
Closing Form

Some claim that the Yi Jin Jing was created by the famous Zen Patriarch Bodhidharma (Da Mo) around 520 CE, and refined over centuries by Shaolin monks, while others argue for an even more ancient Daoist lineage.

There are numerous instructional DVDs available now for the 12 movement verion of the Yi Jin Jing. I like the instructional book and DVD by the Chinese Health Qigong Association:

Yi Jin Jing: Chinese Health Qigong. Compiled by the Chinese Health Qigong Association. Beijing, China, Foreign Languages Press, 2007. 95 pages, charts, includes an instructional DVD. ISBN: 9787119047782. VSCL. "Qigong is an aspect of traditional Chinese medicine that involves coordinating breathing patterns with physical postures to maintain health and well-being. Yi Jin Jing/ Tendon-Muscle Strengthening Exercises is an accessible, fully-illustrated guide to a particular qigong exercise that focuses on turning and flexing the spine. Based on the twelve traditional routines of Yi Jin Jing, the exercises covered in the book feature soft, extended, even movements that invigorate the limbs and internal organs. In particular, practice of the Yi Jin Jing exercises improves flexibility, balance and muscular strength, and has a beneficial effect on the respiratory system. Each routine is described step-by-step and is illustrated with photographs and key points. The authors also point out common mistakes and offer advice on how to correct these. Complemented by an appendix of acupuncture points and accompanied by a DVD, this book will be of interest to Qigong and Tai Chi practitioners at all levels, students of martial arts and anyone interested in Chinese culture." - Singing Dragon.

For a good book on the theory of the Yi Jin Jing, read Qigong: The Secret of Youth: Da Mo's Muscle/Tendon Changing and Marrow Brain Washing Classics. By Yang, Jwing-Ming, Ph.D., 1946-. An Advanced Qigong Regimen for the Serious Practitioner. Boston, Massachusetts, YMAA Publication Center, 2000. Second Edition 2000, First Edition 1989. Index, appendices, charts, 312 pages. ISBN: 1886969841. VSCL.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Grandmaster Lu Zijian, 1893-2012

His Bagua practice, even at the age of 93, was very impressive:

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Chen Taijiquan Workshop in Sacramento

"Hello Taiji enthusiasts: 

On April 23rd and 24th Master Ronnie Yee will be giving a Chen style taiji (based on the practical method) workshop. The workshop will be covering some basics of Chen taiji, many validation drills (two person stuff) Push hands pattern and something that everyone in the last workshop really enjoyed more Mitzvah training. Mitzvah technique is a unique set postural exercises. Some of them to get your alignment all straight and others to help you stretch without pain. All about releasing into the movement. Ronnie attributes much of what he can do to what he has learned and practiced in Mitzvah technique. Not very many people in the US know about this. It is kind of an off shoot of the Alexander Technique but much more involved with the whole body.

Saturday will be from 12:00 to 4:30 so arrive already having eaten from lunch. There will be a free meet and greet from 9:00 to 10:30 on Saturday morning in the Fair Oaks Village Park. Then we break for lunch and go indoors the facility which is at 8066 Sunset Ave. Corner of Fair Oaks Blvd and Sunset. Held in the Level Up Martial arts school.

Sunday the workshop will be from 9:00 to 11:30 and from 1:00 to 4:00.

Cost for the workshop will be $60 for one day and $100 for two days. There will be a 10% discount if paid by April 15th. You can make Check out to Carmen Farruggia or to Eric Smith. Send it to 4864 Tommar Drive. Fair Oaks, CA 95628

Email me, Carmen Farruggia, if you have any questions. Or call 916-965-4469"

I plan to attend this workshop.  

Saturday, April 16, 2016

A Million Aprils Came and Went

"How many million Aprils came
before I ever knew
how white a cherry bough could be,
a bed of squills, how blue
And many a dancing April
when life is done with me,
will lift the blue flame of the flower
and the white flame of the tree
Oh burn me with your beauty then,
oh hurt me tree and flower,
lest in the end death try to take
even this glistening hour..."
- Sara Teasdale, Blue Squills, 1920

"The year's at the spring,
And day's at the morn;
Morning's at seven;
The hill-side's dew-pearled;
The lark's on the wing;
The snail's on the thorn;
God's in his Heaven—
All's right with the world!"
- Robert Browning, The Year's at the Spring

Spring: Quotations, Poems, Sayings


Friday, April 15, 2016

Dao De Jing, Chapter 32

Tao Te Ching, by Lao Tzu
Chapter 32

"The Way is eternally nameless,
Though simplicity is small, the world cannot subordinate it.
If lords and monarchs can keep to it, all beings will naturally resort to them.
Heaven and earth combine, thus showering sweet dew.
No humans command it; it is even by nature.
The Way is to the world as rivers and oceans to valley streams."
-  Translated by Thomas Cleary, 1991, Chapter 32

"The Tao of the Absolute has no name.
Although infinitesimal in its Simplicity,
The world cannot master it.

If leaders would hold on to it,
All Things would naturally follow.
Heaven and Earth would unite to rain Sweet Dew,
And people would naturally cooperate without commands.

Names emerge when institutions begin.
When names emerge, know likewise to stop.
To know when to stop is to be free of danger.

The presence of the Tao in the world
Is like the valley stream joining the rivers and seas."

-  Translated by R. L. Wing, 1986, Chapter 32

"The Way eternal has no name.
A block of wood untooled, though small,
May still excel in the world.
And if the king and nobles could
Retain its potency for good,
Then everything would freely give
Allegiance to their rule.
The earth and sky would then conspire
To bring the sweet dew down;
And evenly it would be given
To folk without constraining power. 
Creatures came to be with order's birth,
And once they had appeared,
Came also knowledge of repose,
And with that was security. 
In this world,
Compare those of the Way
To torrents that flow
Into river and sea."
-   Translated by Raymond B. Blakney, 1955, Chapter 32   

"The Tao remains eternally unnamable.
As undivided simplicity,
If it resides in an ordinary person,
nobody in the world can subjugate him;
If an influential person abides by it,
everybody in the world will be drawn to him.
When heaven and earth come together in harmony,
Showering the world equally with the sweet rain of undivided simplicity,
People cooperate voluntarily without any governing rules.
When simplicity is divided, names come into existence.
When names are already there, the process of further division should stop,
For to know when to stop
is to avoid the danger of complexity.
The Tao is to the world
what the ocean is to the rivers of the earth."
-  Translated by Yasuhiko Genku Kimura, Chapter 32  

"Tao, the Eternally Nameless.
Though primordial simplicity is infinitesimal, none dare make it a public servant.
Were princes and monarchs able to maintain it, all creation would spontaneously submit.
Heaven and earth harmonized, there would be an abundance of nourishing agencies; the people unbidden, would cooperate of their own accord.
Names arose when differentiation commenced; once there were names it became important to know where to stop.
This being known, danger ceased.
The Tao spread throughout the world, may be compared to mountain rivulets and streams flowing toward the sea."
-  Translated by C. Spurgeon Medhurst, 1905, Chapter 32 

樸雖小, 天下莫能臣也. 
侯王若能守之, 萬物將自賓. 
天地相合, 以降甘露, 民莫之令而自均. 
-  Chinese characters, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 32

tao ch'ang wu ming.
p'u sui hsiao, t'ien hsia mo nêng ch'ên yeh.
hou wang jo nêng shou chih, wan wu chiang tzu pin.
t'ien ti hsiang ho, yi chiang kan lu, min mo chih ling erh tzu chün.
shih chih yu ming.
ming yi chi yu.
fu yi chiang chih chih.
chih chih so k'o pu tai.
p'i tao chih tsai t'ien hsia.
yu ch'uan ku chih yü chiang hai.

-  Wade-Giles Romanization, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 32 

"The eternal Tao is nameless; though it be
Too insignificant a name to have,
In its primordial simplicity
The whole world dare not make of it a slave.
If prince or king could keep it, everything
Would homage pay to him spontaneously,
And Heaven and Earth, combined, sweet dews would bring,
And people know no rule but harmony.
But when it takes control, it has a name,
And, knowing when to stop, men rest at ease,
For to the Tao the whole world is the same
s river streams compared with mighty seas."
-  Translated by Isaac Winter Heysinger, 1903, Chapter 32

"Tao is forever of no name.
Small as it may be,
Tao as the uncarved block cannot be used by anyone in the universe.
If kings and lords could follow it well,
Ten Thousand Things will spontaneously obey them.
Heaven and earth would make love to each other,
Sweet dew will thereby fall gently.
With no decrees, people will be naturally ruled.
When the whole uncarved block is divided,
The pieces become instruments and in need of their names.
When there are already many names,
It is also necessary to know their limitations.
When their limitations are known,
There are no things in danger.
Tao is manifest in the universe,
Like the water flows from the rivers and the valleys into Yan Ze River and ocean."
-  Translated by Eichi Shimomisse, 1998, Chapter 32  

"El Tao es eterno.
El Tao no tiene nombre.
Pequeño es en su perfecta simplicidad primera.
Pequeño como es, el mundo entero es incapaz de aprehenderlo.
Si sólo príncipes y reyes pudieran aprehenderlo tendrían el mundo en la palma de la mano.
La tierra y el cielo estando unidos harían caer la lluvia como un suave rocío.
La paz y el orden reinarían espontáneamente entre los hombres sin necesidad de estar sometidos a un mando.
Cuando la perfecta simplicidad primero se diversificó, aparecieron los nombres.
Apareciendo los nombres, el Tao no se quedó en ellos.
El saber detenerse es estar sin peligros.
Compara El Tao con la existencia universal.
El Tao es como un riachuelo y un valle frente al gran río y al mar."
Translation from Logia Medio Dia, 2015, Capítulo 32 

"Tao has always been nameless;
an Uncarved Block, simple and small, but subject to none under Heaven.

All things will obey the Monarch who defends it.

Heaven uniting with Earth, as sweet dew falling.
People not commanded, but true to themselves.

First there were names, then more names.
It is time to stop.
Knowing when to stop avoids exhaustion.

Tao flows from Heaven, as Rivers flow into the Sea."
-  Translated by Karl Kromal, 2002, Chapter 32  

"The Tao is nameless and unchanging.
Although it appears insignificant,
nothing in the world can contain it.

If a ruler abides by its principles,
then her people will willingly follow.
Heaven would then reign on earth,
like sweet rain falling on paradise.
People would have no need for laws,
because the law would be written on their hearts.

Naming is a necessity for order,
but naming can not order all things.
Naming often makes things impersonal,
so we should know when naming should end.
Knowing when to stop naming,
you can avoid the pitfall it brings.

All things end in the Tao
just as the small streams and the largest rivers
flow through valleys to the sea."
-  Translated by John H. McDonald, 1996, Chapter 32     

Chapter 32Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu

A Philosopher's Notebooks 

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Standing Fully on a Single Leg

"The Taichi Classics say that the proper root is in the foot.  A beginner can develop root by simply spending three to five minutes, morning and night, standing fully on a single leg.  Alternate legs and gradually increase the time as you sink lower.  This 'bitter work' not only develops a root, it stimulates the cardiovascular system, with benefits the brain.  It is essential that your ch'i sinks to the tan-t'ien, both feet adhere to the floor, and you exert absolutely no force.  When practicing this Standing Posture, you may assist your balance by lightly touching a chair or table with the middle and index fingers.  After a while us only the middle finger.  When you can stand unassisted, you my choose either the Lift Hands Posture or Playing the Guitar Posture to continue your practice.  Do not fear bitter work.  If you do you will never progress."

-  Professor Cheng Man-ch'ing, New Method of Taichi Ch'uan Self-Cultivation, 1965, 1999, p. 11  

Practitioners might also do the Golden Rooster Stands on One Leg Posture or the White Stork Spreads Its Wings Posture.

Standing on one leg, holding static poses, is also a common practice in Hatha Yoga, e.g., Tree Pose, Vriksasana. 

Standing Meditation

You stand on one leg.  You can hold the arms in a variety of positions.  I suppose you could even hold weights in the hands.  You can hold the lifted leg in a variety of positions.  There are many possibilities for different static postures. You could use a cane or staff to help with balance.  You "can develop root by simply spending three to five minutes, morning and night, standing fully on a single leg."  

Effectively Using Rooting, Sinking, Centered, and Vertical Forces in Taijiquan

Effectively Using Rotating, Spiraling, Spinning, and Circular Forces in Taijiquan

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Deep Wisdom Within Our Very Flesh

"The human body is not an instrument to be used, but a realm of one's being to be experienced, explored, enriched and, thereby, educated."
-  Thomas Hanna

"There is deep wisdom within our very flesh,  if we can only come to our senses and feel it."
 -  Elizabeth A. Behnke

"He who feels it, knows it more."-  Bob Marley  

 "The hand is the cutting edge of the mind."
-  Jacob Bronowski

'The Heavenly Level is the function of feeling."
Cheng Man-ch'ing

"No matter how closely we look, it is difficult to find a mental act that can take place without the support of some physical function."
-  Moshe Feldenkrais  

"I would have touched it like a child
But knew my finger could but have touched
Cold stone and water.   I grew wild,
Even accusing heaven because
It had set down among its laws:
Nothing that we love over-much
Is ponderable to our touch."
-  W. B. Yeats  

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Cane: Weapon and Training Tool

The weather is cool and nice in the morning.  A few more rainshowers predicted for Red Bluff this week.  

When I take long walks (3.6 + miles), I walk six times, east then west, .6 mile per whole lap.  I stop between laps to practice Taijiquan (24, 37, 108 Yang; 18 Chen), and the 8 Immortals Cane Form, Part 1.  The only martial arts weapon that I practice with is a cane.  I practice all the Taijiquan sword and broadsword forms that I know with a cane. 

Every time I take a long walk or hike I carry my cane with me.  A cane provides support to a walker (like a staff or trekking pole sticks), and a cane can be used effectively for self-defense.  Using various cane strikes and stretches while walking is an excellent way to exercise the upper torso.  I practice the 8 Immortals Cane Form, Part 1.  

I use an Instructor's Walking Cane, 40" (103 cm) long and 1" (2.54 cm) in diameter, from Cane Masters.  This cane weights 1lb, 2 oz (510 gm).  This beautiful martial arts combat cane is made of pure hickory heartwood, has multiple notches at three key gripping points, has a rounded hooked horn, and has a rubber covered tip.  I also own the same Instructor's Walking Cane made of oak - a gift from my children.
Way of the Short Staff.  By Michael P. Garofalo, M.S.  A comprehensive guide to the practice of the short staff, cane, jo, walking stick, gunzhang, whip staff, 13 Hands Staff, and related wood short staff weapons.  A detailed and annotated guide, bibliographies, lists of links, resources, instructional media, online videos, and lessons.   Includes use of the short staff and cane in martial arts, self-defense, walking and hiking.  Separate sections on Aikido Jo, Cane, Taijiquan cane and staff, Jodo, exercises with a short staff, selected quotations, techniques, selecting and purchasing a short staff, tips and suggestions, and a long section on the lore, legends, and magick of the short staff.  Includes "Shifu Miao Zhang Points the Way."  Published by Green Way Research, Valley Spirit Taijiquan, Red Bluff, California.  Updated on a regular basis since October, 2008.  Filesize: 265Kb.  Related to Mike's popular webpage on the Staff.

"The correct use of the bo (sai, tonfa, kama, naginata, sword) can produce a stimulating and practical means of "extension" training. It offers a means of martial arts training and discipline. Weapons training teaches the meaning of control, timing, distance, and flexibility as one unit. The practitioner is required to possess speed, coordination, strength, and endurance in utilizing the respective weapons."
History of the Bo Staff

"The jo can be used to strike like a sword, sweep like a naginata, thrust like a spear (yari). Its two ends can be used, unlike the single point of a sword, and its ma-ai (fighting distance) can be varied according to the hand grip you take. Because of its speed and changeable ma-ai, it is a formidable weapon."
Muso Shindo-Ryu Jodo   

"In Chinese shamanism, a staff represents the power of the universe. With a staff, a shaman had the power to pass on the universal knowledge to others. Later, when teachers took over part of the shaman's job, they always taught with a small staff in their hands like a shaman."
- Master Zhongxian Wu, Vital Breath of the Dao, p. 106

Monday, April 11, 2016

Prolong Life Through Softness

"When I teach taichi today, I still cure illnesses, prolong life, and gladden the spirit, but I can also enjoy the gathering of young and old, and the sharing of goodness with others.

Resembling Old Lai's childish antics,
never retiring though aged,
Surpassing Hau Tuo's animal frolics,
always concentrating ch'i for softness.

Swallow the heaven's ch'i,
Tap the earth's strength,
Prolong life through softness.  

Herein, truly, lie health and happiness."
-  Dr. Cheng Man-ch'ing, New Method of Taichi Ch'uan Self-Cultivation, 1963, 1999, p.15

Dr. Cheng Man-ch'ing (1902-1975)  Bibliography, Links, Quotations, 37 Form 

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Sacred Circle Gardens

I've put together a webpage on the subject of Sacred Circles.

This webpage provides links, bibliographic citations, resources, quotations, notes, and comments on medicine wheels, henges, labyrinths, neopagan sacred circles, holy circles, the symbolism and myths about circles and spheres, sacred circle gardens, the four elements, and related topics.

This webpage includes information and photographs of our sacred circle garden at our home in Red Bluff, California.

Those folks who walk the circle in labyrinthswalking meditation or baguazhang might find some of the information in sacred circles to be of interest to them.

Here are a few pictures from our sacred circle garden.  They were all taken a few years ago.  Everything is the same today, except all the trees and shrubs are larger.  

Saturday, April 09, 2016

Come Saturday Morning

Busy day ahead:  walking, teaching Tai Chi Chuan, mowing, weeding, updating drip lines in south orchard, laundry, cleaning house.  My wife, Karen, has been helping my son in Portland, since March 16th, recover from a kidney translplant; so, more work for me at home alone.  I will put up some pictures later in the day.  

Tai Chi Chuan Yang Style

Red Bluff Notebooks

The Spirit of Gardening

Green Way Research Subject Index

Friday, April 08, 2016

Tao Te Ching, Chapter 33

Daodejin, Laozi
Chapter 33

"It is wisdom to know others;
It is enlightenment to know one's self.
The conqueror of men is powerful;
The master of himself is strong.
It is wealth to be content;
It is willful to force one's way on others.
Endurance is to keep one's place;
Long life it is to die and not perish."
-  Translated by R. B. Blakney, 1955, Chapter 33  

"Those who know others are intelligent;
Those who know themselves have insight.
Those who master others have force;
Those who master themselves have strength.
Those who know what is enough are wealthy.
Those who persevere have direction.
Those who maintain their position endure.
And those who die and yet do not perish, live on."
-  Translated by R. L. Wing, 1986, Chapter 33 

"He who knows men is wise,
He who knows himself can see clearly.
He who conquers men has strength,
He who conquers himself has power
He who knows that he has enough is rich,
He who acts with energy has a strong will.
He who fails not to find the Self shall endure,
He who dies, but does not perish, shall endure for ever."
-  Translated by Isabella Mears, 1916, Chapter 33

"Understanding other people is wisdom,
understanding other religions is knowledge,
understanding oneself is enlightenment.
Strength is necessary to overcome others
power is necessary to overcome oneself.

Being content with what one already has is wealth.
Violence may achieve a quick result
but nothing permanent.
Stay in place, content with what you have,
to live a long life.
Death is a return to the native elements."
-  Translated by Tom Kunesh, Chapter 33  


-  Chinese characters, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 33

chih jên chê chih.
tzu chih chê ming.
shêng jên chê yu li.
tzu shêng chê ch'iang.
chih tsu chê fu.
ch'iang hsing chê yu chih.
pu shih ch'i so chê chiu.
ssu erh pu wang chê shou.
-  Wade-Giles Romanization, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 33 

"He who knows others is clever;
He who knows himself has discernment.
He who overcomes others has force;
He who overcomes himself is strong.
He who knows contentment is rich;
He who perseveres is a man of purpose;
He who does not lose his station will endure;
He who lives out his days has had a long life."
-  Translated by D. C. Lau, 1963, Chapter 33 

"Those who know others are wise; those who know themselves are enlightened.
Those who overcome others are powerful; those who overcome themselves are strong.
Those who are contented are rich; those who act strongly have will.
Those who do not lose their place endure; those who die without perishing live long."
-   Translated by Thomas Cleary, 1991, Chapter 33

"He who knows others is wise; he who knows himself is enlightened.
He who overcomes others is powerful; he who overcomes himself is strong.
He who feels self-contentment is rich; he who practises self-cultivation is resolute.
He who abides by his original nature endures; he who follows Truth throughout life enjoys immortality."

-  Translated by Cheng Lin, Chapter 33

"Quien conoce a los demás es inteligente.
Quien se conoce a sí mismo tiene visión interna.
Quien conquista a los demás tiene fuerza; quien se conquista a sí mismo es realmente poderoso.
Quien sabe cuándo ha obtenido bastante es rico, y quien sigue asiduamente
     el sendero del Tao es alguien de propósito constante.
Quien permanece en el lugar en el que ha encontrado su verdadera casa vive mucho tiempo,
     y quien muere, pero no perece, goza de la auténtica longevidad."
-  Translation from Chinese to English by John C. H. Wu, translated into Spanish by Alfonso Colodrón, Capítulo 33

"One who knows others is clever.
One who knows himself has insight.
One who overcomes others is forceful.
One who overcomes himself is truly strong.
One who knows he has enough is rich.
One who does not divert his mind from the realization of integral virtue is wisely willful.
One who preserves his natural integrity will endure.
One who embraces the subtle essence dies yet does not perish and thus enjoys true immortality."
-  Translated by Hua-Ching Ni, 1995, Chapter 33 

"Whoever knows others has wisdom;
Whoever knows himself has insight.
Whoever conquers others has force;
Whoever conquers himself has strength.
Whoever knows he has enough has wealth.
Whoever perseveres has purpose. Whoever keeps to one place endures.
Whoever dies without perishing lives long."
-  Translated by Herrymoon Maurer, 1985, Chapter 33

Chapter 33Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu
A Philosopher's Notebooks