Monday, February 29, 2016

Correcting the Clocks



"A leap year (also known as an intercalary year or a bissextile year) is a year containing one additional day (or, in the case of lunisolar calendars, a month) added to keep the calendar year synchronized with the astronomical or seasonal year.  Because seasons and astronomical events do not repeat in a whole number of days, calendars that have the same number of days in each year drift over time with respect to the event that the year is supposed to track. By inserting (also called intercalating) an additional day or month into the year, the drift can be corrected. A year that is not a leap year is called a common year.

For example, in the Gregorian calendar, each leap year has 366 days instead of the usual 365, by extending February to 29 days rather than the common 28. Similarly, in the lunisolar Hebrew calendar, Adar Aleph, a 13th lunar month, is added seven times every 19 years to the twelve lunar months in its common years to keep its calendar year from drifting through the seasons.

The name "leap year" comes from the fact that while a fixed date in the Gregorian calendar normally advances one day of the week from one year to the next, the day of the week in a leap year will advance two days (from March onwards) due to the extra day added at the end of February (thus "leaping over" one of the days in the week). For example, Christmas fell on Tuesday in 2001, Wednesday in 2002, and Thursday in 2003 but then "leapt" over Friday to fall on a Saturday in 2004."
Leap Year - Wikipedia  


Our lives are ordered by time in many ways.  We have personal and idiosyncratic experiences and conceptions of duration and time.  Our social and employment lives are strictly governed by clocks and calendars. The flow of the seasons effects our personal well being, access to food, our comforts and discomforts.  Our personal participation in the temporal dimension is limited by our birth and death dates. 

The subject of "time" has been of serious interest to philosophers, thinkers, scientists, poets, and mystics for over 4,000 years.  Here are two good books, written in a fairly accessible style, that I recommend:


Time, the Familiar Stranger   By J. T. Frazier.  University of Massachusetts Press, 2012.  Index, bibliography, notes, 408 pages.  ISBN: 9781558498594. 

Time and the Art of Living  By Robert Grudin.  Mariner Books, 1997.  Index, 250 pages.  ISBN: 978039689814. 




Sunday, February 28, 2016

Somatic Intelligence

I have learned and benefited greatly from reading and studying the following three books:




Awakening Somatic Intelligence: The Art and Practice of Embodied Mindfulness    By Risa F. Kaparo, Ph.D.  Berkeley, California, North Atlantic Books, 2012.  Index, 368 pages.  ISBN: 978-1583944172.  Subtitle: Transform Pain, Stress, Trauma, and Aging.  VSCL.  

Philosophy in the Flesh : The Embodied Mind and Its Challenge to Western Thought.  By George Lakoff and Mark Johnson.  Basic Books, Perseu Books, 1999.  Index, bibliography, 624 pages.  ISBN: 0465056741.   "The mind is inherently embodied.  Thought is mostly unconscious.  Abstract concepts are largely metaphorical."  VSCL.

Mindfulness Yoga: The Awakened Union of Breath, Body, and Mind.   By Frank Jude Boccio.   Boston, MA, Wisdom Publications.  Index, bibliography, notes, 340 pages.  ISBN: 0861713354.  VSCL.   



Somaesthetics, Body-Mind Practices, Embodiment Arts:  Quotations, Facts, Information, Bibliography, Resources

Valley Spirit Yoga

Qigong (Chi-King) Mind-Body Practices




Saturday, February 27, 2016

An Evidence of Leisure

"Today I have grown taller from walking with the trees."
-  Karle Wilson


"I like to walk about amidst the beautiful things that adorn the world."
-  George Santayana


"I was never less alone than when by myself."
-  Edward Gibbon


"The walking stick serves the purpose of an advertisement that the bearer's hands are employed otherwise that in useful effort, and it therefore has utility as an evidence of leisure."
-  Thorstein Veblen, Theory of the Leisure Class




"... the brisk exercise imparts elasticity to the muscles, fresh and healthy blood circulates through the brain, the mind works well, the eye is clear, the step is firm, and the day's exertion always make the evening's repose thoroughly enjoyable."
-  Dr. David Livingstone



Currently, I am reading the following two books:

On Desire: Why We Want What We Want  By William B. Irvine.  Oxford University Press, 2006.  322 pages. 

Coastal Oregon.  By W. C. McRae and Judy Jewell.  A Moon Handbook.  Avalon Travel Pub., 6th Edition, 2016.  Index, appendices, 260 pages. 



Walking - Quotations, Sayings, Poems, Lore

Solitude - Quotations  

Traveling, Camping and Hiking in Oregon

Pleasure, Satisfaction, Desire - Quotations



Nearly every Saturday morning, at daybreak, I walk four miles along a quiet paved country lane.  The photograph below, taken by Karen, was on a nice Spring day.  






Friday, February 26, 2016

You Can't Dance and Stay Uptight

Dancing in the Moonlight
By King Harvest
1972

"We get it almost every night
When that moon gets big and bright
It's supernatural delight
Everybody was dancing in the moonlight

Everybody here is out of sight
They don't bark and they don't bite
They keep things loose, they keep things light
Everybody was dancing in the moonlight

Dancing in the moonlight
Everybody feeling warm and bright
It's such a fine and natural sight
Everybody's dancing in the moonlight

We like our fun and we never fight
You can't dance and stay uptight
It's supernatural delight
Everybody was dancing in the moonlight

Dancing in the moonlight
Everybody's feeling warm and bright
It's such a fine and natural sight
Everybody's dancing in the moonlight

Dancing in the moonlight
Everybody's feeling warm and bright
It's such a fine and natural sight
Everybody's dancing in the moonlight"




Thursday, February 25, 2016

Chen Style T'ai Chi Ch'uan Short Form

I have enjoyed practicing this short Chen Taijiquan form for the past eight 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.  


Watch Grandmaster Chen Zhenglei perform the short form he created:



Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Enjoy Yourself



“I finally figured out the only reason to be alive is to enjoy it.”
- Rita Mae Brown

“Too much of a good thing can be wonderful!”
- Mae West

"If it does not come at the last to gladness, then to hell with it."
- Douglas Wilson, Angels in the Architecture

"I believe in the flesh and the appetites;
Seeing, hearing, feeling, are miracles, and each part and tag of me is a miracle.
Divine am I inside and out, and I make holy whatever I touch or am touch’d from;
The scent of these arm-pits, aroma finer than prayer;
This head more than churches, bibles, and all the creeds."
- Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass

Pleasures

Epicureanism  

Travels with Epicurus: A Journey to a Greek Island in Search of a Fulfilled Life By Daniel Klein. New York, Penguin Books, 2012. 164 pages. ISBN: 9780143126621. 








Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Winter Scenes


Nearly all of the photographs on this blog are taken by Karen Garofalo.
A bee enjoys some tasty Tuscan Rosemary blossoms.  




A lizard crawls over some Chickweed.

"Which is better off, a lizard basking in the sun or a philosopher?"
-  Ursula K. Le Guin, Changing Planes







Acacia tree in bloom.




Minature horses grazing in green pastures, almond orchard in white bloom, and a dusting of snow on the Yolly Bolly mountains to the west.





The McCloud River near where it flows into Shasta Lake.




Karen enjoys the McCloud River scenery.





Monday, February 22, 2016

Eight Treasures Chi Kung Exercise Set

I frequently teach the Chinese Eight Section Brocade Chi Kung exercise and fitness routine in my Taijiquan class and my Yoga class.  Naturally, I include many comments about Shaolin and Daoist fitness and healthy living concepts.

This Eight Treasures exercise and fitness routine has a varied and long history with ancient roots back to the Animal Frolics Dao-yin exercises of 300 CE.  Some of the Eight Treasures exercises involve toughening, courage, and fighting and were used in military exercise and conditioning drills.  Many versions of the Ba Duan Jin include 12 exercises or more.   

One recent book that provides good documentation on the history of Chinese exercise practices (Chi Kung, Qigong, Neigong), including five illustrated versions of the Eight Section Brocade, is:  

An Illustrated Handbook of Chinese Qigong Forms from the Ancient Texts  Complied by Li Jingwei and Zhu Jianping.  London, Singing Dragon, 2014.  No index or bibliography, 325 pages.  ISBN: 9781848191976.  Many excellent line drawings are included to illustrate the postures.  VSCL. 

Back in 2002, I created the webpage titled:  The Eight Section Brocade Chi Kung.
  

The Ba Duan Jin Qigong form includes eight basic exercises to help you keep limber, become stronger, improve your balance, and increase your stamina.  There are opportunities for squatting movements and postures to strengthen the legs.  
  The entire Eight Beautiful Tapestries Chi Kung form is normally done while standing, although there are some versions done in a seated posture for meditative purposes or for frail persons. 


There are numerous versions of this popular Chi Kung form.  There are many good books, instructional DVDs, and UTube videos to choose from on this topic.  My webpage includes a long bibliography on the Eight Section Brocade Chi Kung with citations for resources, links, videos, books, and instructional DVDs on the subject.  
  I make a number of comments about each of the eight movements, including comments about the movement variations, physical training targets, muscles worked, attitude, internal alchemy (Neidan), benefits, options, comparisons with yoga asanas, and breathing patterns.  
  

I offer my own version with fairly detailed comments on each of the eight movements.  Here is my one page class handout for the Eight Section Brocade Chi Kung class.  


"The name “Ba Duan Jin” has been found as early as the Northern Song Dynasty. According to Hong Mai's (洪邁) Yi Jian Zhi (夷堅志, Song Dynasty), Zhenghe Seventh Year, Emperor's Chief Secretary, Li Shi-Ju, lived a simple life.  He spent a large portion of his time in his mediation room practicing Daoist Monk’s exercises expanding like a bear and stretching like a bird. In the early hours, he is often found breathing and massaging, practicing the so-called Eight-Section Brocade (Ba Duan Jin). This passage reveals that Ba Duan Jin has been developed and practiced since the Song Dynasty as a general health-keeping regime.
    
Both sitting and standing forms have been found in the history of Ba Duan Jin (
八段錦),. Standing forms were developed into two schools (northern and southern styles) in the Qing Dynasty. The Northern School, said to have been passed down by Yue Fei (岳飛), has tougher forms, and the Southern School, claimed the lineage from Liang Shi-Chang (梁世昌), focuses on softer trainings. Quite a few verses has been passed down during the period from Song Dynasty to Qing Dynasty, but all verses for the standing forms have evolved from the passages recorded in "The Chapter of Wonders, Pivot of Dao" (道樞·眾妙篇, Dao Shu, Zong Miao Pian, Song Dynasty) and verses of the sitting style from the forms recorded in "TheTen Books of Daoist Practices" (修真十書 Xiu Zhen Shi Shu, Ming Dynasty ).  or "The Methods of Curing"(活人心法, Huo Ren Xin Fa, Ming Dynasty). Sets Ba Duan Jin forms are not always limited to the number of eight. The number of forms in a set range from a single form to tens or as many as a hundred; nevertheless, they are all exercise regimes designed for health-keeping, preventive, and therapeutic purposes, and, liberally saying, all exercise regimes designed for such purposes are part of the Ba Duan Jin system."
-   Lee Chang-Chih, 
 A Brief Introduction to Ba Daun Jin.  "Reinterpreting Ba Duan Jing From the Theories of the Eight Extra Meridians" 2005 




Sunday, February 21, 2016

No Pleasure Endures Unseasoned by Variety



"No pleasure endures unseasoned by variety."
-  Publilius Syrus  


"The essence of pleasure is spontaneity."
-  Germaine Greer

"Why not seize the pleasure at once, how often is happiness destroyed by preparation, foolish preparations."
-  Jane Austen



"Perhaps all pleasure is only relief."
- William Burroughs



"Man, Nietzsche contended, is a being that has leapt beyond the "bestial bounds of the mating season" and seeks pleasure not just at fixed intervals but perpetually.  Since, however, there are fewer sources of pleasure than his perpetual desire for pleasure demands, nature has forced man on the "path of pleasure contrivance."  Man, the creature of consciousness whose horizons extend to the past and the future, rarely attains complete fulfillment within the present, and for this reason experiences something most likely unknown to any animal, namely boredom.  This strange creature seeks a stimulus to release him from boredom.  If no such stimulus is readily available, it simply needs to be created.  Man becomes the animal that plays.  Play is an invention that engages the emotions; it is the art of stimulating the emotions.  Music is a prime example.  Thus, the anthropological and physiological formula for the secret of art: "The flight from boredom is the mother of all art." "
-  Rudiger Safranski, Nietzsche: A Philosophical Biography, p. 23




Seven Pleasures: Essays on Ordinary Happiness  By Willard Spiegelman.  The seven simple pleasures discussed are: dancing, reading, walking, looking, listening, swimming, and writing.  If you included Taijiquan as "dancing" then all of these can be solitary activities.  Picador, 2010.  208 pages.  ISBN: 9780312429676. 


Pleasure and the Good Life: Concerning the Nature, Varieties, and Plausibility of Hedonism.  By Fred Feldman.  Clarendon Press, 2006.  240 pages.  ISBN: 978-0199297603.  VSCL. 


Pleasure and Enjoyment: Quotations, Sayings, Information

Epircurean Philosophy

The Five Senses  

Play







Saturday, February 20, 2016

A Beaver in Our Back Yard

We have lived in a rural area in the North Sacramento Valley since 1998.  Our home is on a five acre parcel of land.  There are two small ponds on our property that attract many species of wildlife.  

Over the years, we have observed numerous wild mammals on our property: bats, coyotes, ferral cats, foxes, gophers, mice, moles, possums, raccoons, rats, and skunks.  

This week, our next door neighbor, Debbie, called us and said that a beaver was in her back yard.  There is a large pond west of Debbie's home and property. 

Yes, a beaver!!  Very curious.  Very unusual.  Pictured below.  

Mrs. Murphy, who lives 120 yards east of us, told us that beavers lived in her large pond a few years back.  





Beavers

The Spirit of Gardening

Animals

Animals around our Home and Gardens

Friday, February 19, 2016

Tao Te Ching, Chapter 67

Dao De Jing by Laozi
Chapter 67


"All in the world call me great; but I resemble the unlikely.
 Now a man is great only because he resembles the unlikely.
 Did he resemble the likely, how lasting, indeed, would his mediocrity be!
 I have three treasures which I cherish and prize.
 The first is called compassion.
 The second is called economy.
 The third is called not daring to come to the front in the world. 
 The compassionate can be brave;
 The economical can be generous;
 Those who dare not come to the front in the world can become perfect as chief vessels.
 Now, if people discard compassion and are brave;
 If they discard economy and are generous;
 If they discard modesty and are ambitious, they will surely die."
 -  Translated by D. T. Suzuki and Paul Carus, 1913, Chapter 67  


"While being recognized and proclaimed as great by consensus of all people,
Yet the Tao is indescribable.
Being indescribable by common standards,
It is great.
Were it so describable,
Its greatness would have long ago vanished.
From it, three great treasures are possessed,
To be embraced, guarded and kept secure.

The first is Tzu,
Characterized by gentleness, compassion, mercy and nurturing love.
The second, Chien,
By renunciation, frugality and economy which limits possession to no more than that which is truly needed.
When encompassing the third,
One rejects the need for worldly preeminence.

Possessing the first,
Is to possess courage.
Being frugal,
It is possible to be generous.
No longer needing preeminence,
One becomes a leader.

Forsaking these,
Endeavoring to be courageous without compassion,
Endeavoring to possess without renunciation,
Endeavoring to lead all without following behind,
Is to surely court destruction.

Through gentleness, compassion, mercy and nurturing love,
The Sage wins in attack,
Is impregnable in defense.
Truly, heaven arms with love those whom it would not see destroyed."

-  Translated by Alan B. Taplow, 1982, Chapter 67 

"All in the world may think that Dao is unlike to be so superior,
that nothing in the world can compare to it.
If it were comparable to anything, it would be inferior.
If it is not superior, it would not be Dao.
I have three treasured strategies to which I hold fast and embrace them all:
the first is Mercy;
the second is Economy of Force;
and the third is Dare Not to Take Initiative Before the World.
Because of Mercy, one can be courageous.
Because of Economy of Force, one can have superior force.
Because of Dare Not To Take Initiative Before the World,
one can be the master of instruments.
Alas!
Nowadays, rulers want to be brave without being merciful;
want to have superior force without knowing economy of force;
and want to take initiative without being able to be resistant.
They will surely die in the war.
Mercy helps one to win when on the offensive;
to consolidate when on the defensive.
If one guides oneself by mercy Heavens will protect him."

-  Translated by Tang Zi Chang, Chapter 67 

天下皆謂我道大似不肖.
夫唯大, 故似不肖.
若肖, 久矣其細也夫.
我有三寶.
持而保之.
一曰慈.
二曰儉.
三曰不敢為天下先.
慈故能勇.
儉故能廣.
不敢為天下先.
故能成器長.
今舍慈且勇.
舍儉且廣. 
舍後且先.
死矣.
夫慈以戰則勝. 
以守則固.
天將救之.
以慈衛之.
-  Chinese characters, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 67 


tian xia jie wei wo dao da si bu xiao.
fu wei da, gu si bu xiao.
ruo xiao, jiu yi qi xi ye fu.
wo you san bao.
chi er bao zhi.  
yi yue ci.
er yue jian.
san yue bu gan wei tian xia xian.
ci gu neng yong.
jian gu neng guang.
bu gan wei tian xia xian.
gu neng cheng qi zhang.
jin she ci qie yong.
she jian qie guang.
she hou qie xian.
si yi.
fu ci yi zhan ze sheng.
yi shou ze gu.
tian jiang jiu zhi.
yi ci wei zhi. 
- Pinyin Romanization, Daodejing, Chapter 67 

"Everyone under heaven calls my TAO great,
And unlike anything else.

It is great only because
It is unlike anything else.
If it were like anything else
It would stretch and become thing.

I have three treasures
To maintain and conserve:
The first is compassion.
The second is frugality.
The third is not presuming
To be first under heaven.

Compassion leads to courage.
Frugality allows generosity.
Not presuming to be first
Creates a lasting instrument.

Nowadays,
People reject compassion
But want to be brave,
Reject frugality
But want to be generous,
Reject humility
But want to come first.

This is death.
Compassion:
Attack with it and win.
Defend with it and stand firm.

Heaven aids and protects
Through compassion.

The accomplished person is not aggressive.
The good soldier is not hot-tempered.
The best conqueror does not engage the enemy.
The most effective leader takes the lowest place.

This is called the TE of not contending.
This is called the power of the leader.
This is called matching Heaven's ancient ideal."
-  Translated by Stephen Addiss and Stanley Lombardo, 1993, Chapter 67  



"Compassion, frugality and ruling ... 
Everywhere, they say the Way, our doctrine,
Is so very like detested folly;
But greatness of its own alone explains
Why it should be thus held beyond the pale.
If it were only orthodox, long since
It would have seemed a small and petty thing! 
I have to keep three treasures well secured:
The first, compassion; next, frugality;
And third, I say that never would I once
Presume that I should be the whole world's chief. 
Given compassion, I can take courage;
Given frugality, I can abound;
If I can be the world's most humble man,
Then I can be its highest instrument. 
Bravery today knows no compassion;
Abundance is, without frugality,
And eminence without humility:
This is the death indeed of all our hope. 
In battle, 'tis compassion wins the day;
Defending, tis compassion that is firm:
Compassion arms the people God would save!" 
- Translated by Raymond Blakney, 1955, Chapter 67 

    
"Todo el mundo dice que yo soy grande,
grande sin parecerme a nada.
Sólo porque no me parezco a nada,
puedo ser grande.
Si me pareciese a algo,
tiempo ha que me hubiera vuelto pequeño.
Yo poseo tres tesoros
que conservo con gran estima.
Uno es amor;
el segundo, sobriedad;
el tercero, no atreverme a ser el primero.
El amor permite ser fuerte;
la sobriedad, generoso;
el no atreverse a ser el primero,
permite llegar a ser señor de todos los asuntos.
Hoy en día se es valiente sin amor,
se es generoso sin sobriedad,
se es el primero sin situarse detrás;
esto es la muerte.
Con el amor,
se vence en el combate,
se es sólido en la defensa.
El cielo le fortalecerá,
como si el amor fuera para él una muralla."
-  Translated by Juan Ignacio Preciado, 1978, Tao Te Ching, Capítulo 67 



All the world says that my Tao is great and does not seem to resemble the ordinary.
It is precisely because it is great that it does not resemble the ordinary.
If it did resemble, it would have been small for a long time.
I have three treasures. Guard and keep them:
The first is deep love,
The second is frugality,
And the third is not to dare to be ahead of the world.
Because of deep love, one is courageous.
Because of frugality, one is generous.
Because of not daring to be ahead of the world, one becomes the leader of the world.
Now, to be courageous by forsaking deep love,
To be generous by forsaking frugality,
And to be ahead of the world by forsaking following behind.
This is fatal.
For deep love helps one to win in the case of attack,
And to be firm in the case of defense.
When Heaven is to save a person,
Heaven will protect him through deep love."
-  Translated by Wing-Tsit Chan, 1963, Chapter 67  



"All in the world may think that Dao is unlike to be so superior,
that nothing in the world can compare to it.
If it were comparable to anything, it would be inferior.
If it is not superior, it would not be Dao.
I have three treasured strategies to which I hold fast and embrace them all:
the first is Mercy;
the second is Economy of Force;
and the third is Dare Not to Take Initiative Before the World.
Because of Mercy, one can be courageous.
Because of Economy of Force, one can have superior force.
Because of Dare Not To Take Initiative Before the World,
one can be the master of instruments.
Alas!
Nowadays, rulers want to be brave without being merciful;
want to have superior force without knowing economy of force;
and want to take initiative without being able to be resistant.
They will surely die in the war.
Mercy helps one to win when on the offensive;
to consolidate when on the defensive.
If one guides oneself by mercy Heavens will protect him."
-  Translated by Tang Zi Chang, Chapter 67 







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 67, Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu










Thursday, February 18, 2016

Flourishing in the Dao

"The secret of the Tao Te Ching is its idea of Tao, modeled on the life of a plant.  Just as a living plant is tender and yielding (Chapter 76), so is Tao weak and yielding (Chapter 40).  With plants the hidden roots support the visible leaves and flowers, which return to the roots upon perishing (Chapter 16).  Likewise, Tao is the hidden root (Chapter 6), the non-being from which all beings spring (Chapter 40 and Chapter 21) and to which all beings return (Chapter 34).  The life of a plant is conditioned by seasonal rotation.  So is the movement of Tao in four stages: great (summer), disappearing (fall), far away (winter), and return (spring) (Chapter 25).  In the same way does the Taoist model spiritual life after a plant.  A living plant is tender and pliant, whole a dead plant is stiff and hard (Chapter 76); one who is with the Tao is also tender and pliant, while one who departs from the Tao is stiff and hard.  The plant kingdom is a quiet kingdom (Chapter 16) that sleeps in beauty; Taoist quietude is the spiritual condition for regeneration.  A plant grows at its own pace.  One must not, like the farmer in the Mencius (2A.2), help the growth of the corn stalks by pulling them up.  In the same way the Taoist allows events to unfold according to their inner rhythms; he acts by non-action (wu-wei), which is acting with, not against, the inner rhythms of things.  A plant is always renewing itself; the Taoist celebrates perpetual childhood (Chapter 55)."
-  Ellen M. Chen, The Tao Te Ching: A New Translation with Commentary, 1989, p. 41


Spirituality and Gardening

Nature Mysticism
 


A typical webpage created by Mike Garofalo for each one of the 81 Chapters of the Tao Te Ching (Daodejing) by Lao Tzu (Laozi) includes 20 different translations or interpolations of each Chapter in English, 3 Spanish translations for each Chapter, the Chinese characters for each Chapter, and a Wade-Giles and Hanyu Pinyin Romanization of the Mandarin Chinese words for each Chapter; extensive indexing by key words and terms for each Chapter in English, Spanish, and the Wade-Giles Romanization is provided; recommended reading in books and websites, a detailed bibliography, some commentary, research leads, translation sources, and other resources for each Chapter are included. 


"The first act of awe, when man was struck with the beauty or wonder of Nature, was the first spiritual experience."
-  Henryk Skolimowski   


"A little too abstract, a little too wise,
It is time for us to kiss the earth again,
It is time to let the leaves rain from the skies,
Let the rich life run to the roots again."
-  Robinson Jeffers

"In the assemblies of the enlightened ones there have been many cases of mastering the Way bringing forth the heart of plants and trees; this is what awakening the mind for enlightenment is like.  The fifth patriarch of Zen was once a pine-planting wayfarer; Rinzai worked on planting cedars and pines on Mount Obaku.   ...  Working with plants, trees, fences and walls, if they practice sincerely they will attain enlightenment." 
-  Dogen Zenji, Japanese Zen Buddhist Grand Master , Awakening the Unsurpassed Mind, #31 

"Gardening helps us realize somatically, viscerally, the laws of growth and gradual unfolding.  We can't pull the plants up to make them grow, but we can help facilitate and midwife their blooming, each in his own way, time, and proper season.  I have learned a little about patience and humility from my gardens.  It's so obviously not something I'm doing that creates this miracle!  I also like to reflect upon and appreciate the exquisitely, evanescent, transitory, and poignant nature of things in the garden.  If you love the Dharma, you have to farm it. Go to a garden.  Just stand in it.  Breathe in the air, the fragrances, the light, the temperature, the music of the different plants, insects, birds, worms, caterpillars, grasshoppers, and butterflies.  Inhale the prana (cosmic energy) of all the abundantly growing things.  Recharge your inner batteries.  This is the joy of natural meditation."
-  Lama Surya Das, Awakening to the Sacred, 1999



Tuesday, February 16, 2016

T'ai Chi Ch'uan Cane Practices

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 walk I carry my cane with me.  Using various cane strikes and stretches while walking is an excellent way to exercise the upper torso.


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, February 15, 2016

The Seduction of Words



"I shall repeat a hundred times: we really ought to free ourselves from the seduction of words."
- Frederick Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, #16, 1886

Nietzsche can seduce you with words ... so beware.


"A very popular error: having the courage of one's convictions; rather, it is a matter of having the courage for an attack on one's convictions!!!"
- Frederick Nietzsche, Werke, XVI, p. 318.

In 2016, I have been quite consistently reading and studying the life, works, and philosophy of Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (1844-1900). My hypertext notebook about Nietzsche includes some of my research and many quotations from Nietzsche. I first read Nietzsche in 1964, and since then many times in the past decades. Surprisingly, I don't remember my philosophy teachers (1962-1966) talking much about Nietzsche.


I share most of Nietzsche's views on Judeo-Christian-Moslem beliefs and practices.

I am currently reading:

Nietzsche: A Philosophical Biography. By Rüdiger Safranski. Translated by Shelley Frisch. W.W. Norton and Co., Reprint Edition, 2003. Index, 416 pages. ISBN: 978-0393323801. VSCL.

Basic Writings of Nietzsche. By Friedrich Nietzsche. Translated and Edited, with Commentaries by Walter Kaufmann. New York, Modern Library, 1966, 1968. Indexes pp 804-845, 845 pages. ISBN: B00E28VDX0 for the 1996 Edition, with and introduction by Peter Gay. I use the 1968 version. This text includes: The Birth of Tragedy, Beyond Good and Evil, On the Genealogy of Morals, The Case of Wagner, Ecce Homo, and Aphorisms. Each book has an introduction. Includes biographical notes. Separate indexes for each book. I use a Modern Library hardbound 1968 version of this work, and the very inexpensive Kindle E-book version, VSCL.

Nietzsche: The Man and his Philosophy. By R. J. Hollingdale. Cambridge University Press, 2nd Edition, 2001. 288 pages. ISBN: 9780521002950. VSCL. 








Sunday, February 14, 2016

Flee Into Concealment


"Rather, go away, Flee into concealment. And have your masks and subtlety, that you may be mistaken for what you are not, or feared a little. And don't forget the garden, the garden with golden trelliswork. And have people around you who are as a garden──or as music on the waters in the evening, when the day is turning into memories. Choose the good solitude, the free, playful, light solitude that gives you, too, the right to remain good in some sense."
- Frederick Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, #25, 1886



"Solitude, though it may be silent as light, is like light, the mightiest of agencies; for solitude is essential to man. All men come into this world alone and leave it alone."
- Thomas De Quincey 


"Seek silence.
Gladden in silence.
Adore silence.

As one progresses on the path, one seeks silence more and more.
It will be a great comfort, a tremendous source of solace and peace.

Once you find deep solitude and calm, there will be a great gladness in your heart.
Here finally is the place where you need neither defense nor offense -- the place where you can truly be open.
There will be bliss, wonder, the awe of attaining something pure and sacred.

After that, you will feel adoration of silence.
This is the peace that seems to elude so many.
This is the beauty of Tao."
- Deng Ming-Dao, 365 Tao Daily Meditations 


Solitude: Quotations, Sayings, Poems



Saturday, February 13, 2016

Buddhist Books

On February 13, 2016, I gave all the books in my home about Buddhism to the Sky Creek Dharma Center in Chico, California.  

The Sky Creek director, Bob Speer, came out to my home in his truck and picked up six boxes of Buddhist books and one walnut wood shelf.  

I hope the books benefit members of the Sky Creek Dharma Center.




February Garden Chores


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

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.
Prune and mulch dormant perennials.
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.
Burn piles of gardening cuttings saved since last February.

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