Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Day Hiking - A Good Read

I have enjoyed day hikes for over 60 years.  My day hikes have taken place mostly in California and Oregon.  I have not done any backpacking since 1973. I enjoy tent camping and taking day hikes in the area where I camp.  I take walks nearly every day of the week.  

There are many books, magazine articles, and webpages with information on walks, day hikes, and backpacking.  One book that I have found useful to read regarding day hiking is the following:

The Dayhiker's Handbook: An All-Terrain, All-Season Guide.   By John Long and Michael Hodgson.  Camden, Maine, Ragged Mountain Press, 1996.  Index, appencices, 216 pages.  ISBN: 0070291462.  An excellent guide to preparing for and enjoying long day walks in the desert, mountains, jungles, canyons and streams, in the forest and along the coast.  Practical tips and useful advice.  VSCL. 

That is me on top of North Dome in Yosemite.
Quite a challenging day hike.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Moving Out and Coping Stuff

My son and his wife, and my wife and I all worked on packing up our belongings and moving them into storage containers in town.  We four adults worked from 3/25 to 3/27.

We how have 18 days before we must move out of our home in Red Bluff.  We live at this home, on five acres of rural property, from 1998-2017.  

We have made good progress on the overall task of preparing to move to Vancouver, WA.

Updated Chapter 1 of my webpage on the Tao Te Ching.  I try to update one Daodejing Verse/Chapter each week.

My home library (VSCL) is all packed up and in storage.  
I've used my Kindle a bit more lately.  

My Kindle reading list right now includes:

The Swerve by Stephen Greenblatt
Finding Flow by Mihaly Cstkszen....
Spiritual Ecology: The Cry of the Earth  compilation
The Backpacker's Handbook

However, lately, I just don't have much time for much reading.  

I am following the Golden State Warriors NBA basketball team out of the San Francisco Bay area.  They have a very good win streak going, and beat the Memphis Grizzles on Sunday.  The Warriors will be even more competitive in the upcoming playoffs (only 9 games to go in the regular season), if Kevin Durant can return in three weeks.  

Sunday, March 26, 2017

European Christians and the American Way

I often see graphics on the Internet, in social media and webpages, that catch my attention.  I don't agree with them and think they are incorrect.  Here is an example:

"European Christians Built this Nation."   ????

First, the word 'Christians' is merely a lump sum statistical term and vague. The fact is that Catholics, Baptists, Lutherans, Quakers, Puritans, Presbyterians, Mormons, Southern Baptist Black Churches, Jehovah's Witnesses, Fundamentalists, Mennonites, Church of England, Revivalists, Community Churches, Christian Scientists, etc., don't agree with each other, and often despise and condemn one another.  Shite and Sunni and Sufi Moslems do the same today in the Middle East.  The fanatics in these denominations have a long history of harassing, torturing, and murdering "non-believers" in their illusions.

Yes, those wonderful European Christians (British and Spanish) and Islamics began by kidnapping, shipping, and enslaving millions of Africans in the Americas, and kept exploiting slave labor until 1870.  Those slaves help build this Nation.  

Yes, those kindly European Christians decided to exterminate those savage heathen Native Americans.  They helped unbuild America.

Yes, those hardworking and mean European Christians (i.e., Catholics, Lutherans, and other Protestants) wildly cheered for a loud mouthed demagogue who promised to "Make Germany Great Again". Their foolishness resulted in the genocide of 6 million Jews, the ruin of Europe, and 60 million dead from WWII.

Many of those closed-minded Christian Europeans, especially the WASP, bigoted, racist and violent KKK contingents, hated Catholics, Jews, Blacks, Moslems, and foreigners.

Over 25% of Americans do not belong to any religious group.  So, these hardworking folks had no part in building this Nation?

Many Americans were noted for their independence, self-reliance, and favoring a secular state and religious tolerance.  The ongoing urbanization of America in the 20th century has made us seek new ways of governing ourselves and some shifts in values.  For example, women were denied the vote by 'Christian' macho men and churches until 1920.  The Civil Rights Act was not passed until 1964.

Over the years, those hardworking and poor immigrants, from all over the world, that came to America (and their children and grand children) supported, voted for, and paid taxes for public schools, welfare, Social Security, health care, homeless shelters, sewers, colleges, environmental protection, police, Medicare, courts, social services, libraries, scientific research, roads, parks, museums, etc. Those immigrants knew that America was a better place to live and they paid for the opportunity with their taxes and their lives in our military services.  

Most immigrants to the USA, of all races and religions, are decent, generous, and compassionate.  

My Italian grandparents immigrated in 1905 to Los Angeles and succeeded. Their children went to public schools, public colleges, used roads, followed business laws, they enjoyed the use of many public facilities, they paid their taxes, collected Social Security and Medicare, and helped build America.  And many poor immigrant folks voted Democratic, were pro-union, or Socialists.

Yes, there were many decent and generous European Christian immigrants that helped build America.  But they never did it alone!  

I think that decent Americans continue to build a kinder and better secular Nation today.  

However, the sub-text, and the wrong assumption and claim, is that immigrant white folks who worshiped at my local church, and think like I do or my parents did, really did actually build America. Balderdash!

Many European Christians and Islamics have hated and feared each other for centuries.  It is no surprise to see that slip into the graphic above.  I dislike Islamic Sharia laws, and I dislike Christian Moral Majority "Sharia" laws.  Both want to force their religious practices and customs and petty rules on the rest of us hardworking, and law abiding citizens who support a secular government.  

The "welfare" inclusion is of course the same old sub-text of not wanting welfare for those lazy blacks and rapist and drug dealing Mexicans (the latest Takeaway Trump version), and Moslem immigrants or citizens who are all radical Jihadis; while conveniently ignoring and forgiving those poor unfortunate white folks who worship at my local church and need welfare to help them get a leg up in hard times.  What is good for the holy white goose is not OK for the discolored or mixed gander.  

As for 'Bitching,' it seems like a sneering phrase used to describe the opinions of people who don't agree with you, e.g., if you disagree with Mr. Trump's lies and takeaways, then you are 'whining' and 'bitching.'  Debating and discussing politics and values has a long and honorable tradition in America.  We have listened to Republicants whine and bitch and proselytize for the last eight years; it is now payback time, but with the truth this time.  

When driving home from work one day two years ago, this is what I saw.  A local red-neck rifleman, probably a "Jeffersonian," spray painted on the side of a bridge over Interstate 5 the following: "Lynch Obama."  [One can't know for sure who the perpetrator is, since he hides like the coward he is; but a local Red Bluff racist redneck is most likely.] He most likely sits in a Christian Church on Sundays, with other white European Christians.  Many of us are not thankful for these belligerent European Christians doing their clandestine political bitching. This freeway is flanked by posters and signs with pro-Christian warnings of hell-fire, and anti-abortion crosses.  Thankfully, a state CALTrans worker removed the racist graffiti from the concrete bridge wall a few days later.  

Saturday, March 25, 2017

The Essence of Pleasure: Spontaneity

"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

Hedonistic and Epircurean Philosophy

The Five Senses  


Friday, March 24, 2017

Dao De Jing, Laozi, Chapter 7

Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu
Chapter 7

"The Tao is infinite and eternal.
Why is it eternal?
It was never born;
thus it can never die.
Why is it infinite?
It has no desires for itself;
thus it is present for all beings.
The Master stays behind;
that is why he is ahead.
He is removed from all things;
that is why he is one with them.
Because he has let go of himself,
he is perfectly fulfilled."
- Translated by John Dicus, 2002, Chapter 7

"The universe is everlasting.
The reason the universe is everlasting
Is that it does not live for Self.
Therefore, it can long endure.
Therefore, the Sage puts himself last,
And finds himself in the foremost place;
Regards his body as accidental,
And his body is thereby preserved.
Is it not because he does not live for Self,
That his Self is realized?"
- Translated by Lin Yutang, 1955, Chapter 7

"Heaven is lasting, Earth endures.
What enables Heaven and Earth to last and endure?
Because they do not live for themselves - so it is that they can live so long.
And so, the Wise Person: Puts himself last, and so finds himself in front.
He puts himself in the out group, and so maintains his place.
The personal does not exist for him.
Isn't this how he can perfect what for him is most personal?"
- Translated by Michael LaFargue, 1992, Chapter 7

"The Tao is infinite, eternal.
Why is it eternal?
It was never born;
thus it can never die.
Why is it infinite?
It has no desires for itself;
thus it is present for all beings.
The Master stays behind;
that is why she is ahead.
She is detached from all things;
that is why she is one with them.
Because she has let go of herself,
she is perfectly fulfilled."
- Translated by Edwin Shaw, 1996, Chapter 7

"Heaven is lasting and earth enduring.
The reason why they are lasting and enduring
is that they do not live for themselves.
Therefore, they live long.
In the same way the Sage keeps himself behind,
and he is in the front.
He forgets himself and is preserved.
Is it not because he is not self-interested
That his self-interest is established?"
- Translated by Ch'u Ta-Kao, 1904, Chapter 7

- Chinese characters, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 7 

t'ien ch'ang ti chiu.
t'ien ti so yi nêng ch'ang ch'ieh chiu chê.
yi ch'i pu tzu shêng.
ku nêng ch'ang shêng.
shih yi shêng jên hou ch'i shên erh shên hsien.
wai ch'i shên erh shên ts'un.
fei yi ch'i wu ssu hsieh.
ku nêng ch'êng ch'i ssu.
- Wade-Giles Romanization, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 7

"Heaven is enduring and earth is lasting.
Why heaven and earth can be enduring and lasting is because
they do not live for themselves, thus, they can endure and last.
So that a Sage ruler put himself behind others, and he came to the front;
he excluded himself from struggle with others and he survived.
It is because he was selfless that he fulfilled himself."
- Translated by Tang Zi-chang, Chapter 7

"The principle of initiation persists; and the principle of completion continues.
Why do such opposing principles persist?
Because they inhere in Nature, rather than stand by themselves.
That is why opposites endure.
The intelligent man, when an issue arises, stands off
and observes both contentions.
Since he does not take sides, he never loses a battle.
By not favoring one side more than the other,
he is able to appreciate the virtues of both sides."
- Translation by Archie J. Bahm, 1958, Chapter 7

"Largo es el Cielo, duradera es la Tierra.
El Cielo su larguray la Tierra su duración lo deben a no vivir vida propia.
Por eso,pueden vivir mucho.
Así, también el hombre perfecto se antepone, porque se ha pospuesto.
Se queda, porque se ha apartado.
Logra sus interesesprivados, porque los ha desatendido."
- Translated by Carmelo Elorduy, 2006, Capítulo 7

"Heaven lasts long, and Earth abides.
What is the secret of their durability?
Is it not because they do not live for themselves
That they can live so long?
Therefore, the Sage wants to remain behind,
But finds himself at the head of others;
Reckons himself out,
But finds himself safe and secure.
Is it not because he is selfless
That his Self is realized?"
- Translated by John C. H. Wu, 1961, Chapter 7

"The heavens and the earth last forever.
They can do so because they do not exist for themselves.
Therefore, great men always let other people go first, but ended up being first themselves.
They put their lives out of consideration, but always survived.
Is it not because they were selfless,
That they benefited themselves at the end?"
- Translated by Yang Xiaolin, Chapter 7

A typical webpage created by Mike Garofalo for each one of the 81 Chapters (Verses, Sections) of the Tao Te Ching (Daodejing) by Lao Tzu (Laozi) includes 25 different English language translations or interpolations for that Chapter, 5 Spanish language translations for that Chapter, the Chinese characters for that Chapter, the Wade-Giles and Hanyu Pinyin transliterations (Romanization) of the Mandarin Chinese words for that Chapter, and 2 German and 1 French translation of that Chapter.  Each webpage for each one of the 81 Chapters of the Tao Te Ching includes extensive indexing by key words, phrases, and terms for that Chapter in English, Spanish, and the Wade-Giles Romanization.  Each webpage on a Chapter of the Daodejing includes recommended reading in books and websites, a detailed bibliography, some commentary, research leads, translation sources, a Google Translate drop down menu, and other resources for that Chapter.  These are hypertext documents, and available online under Creative Commons 4.


Chapter 7, Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu.  Complied by Mike Garofalo.  

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

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Taijiquan Treatise

The Taijiquan Lun (Treatise, Theory, Discussion, Thesis)

"English Translation of "The Taijiquan Lun," with extensive and good commentary, by Yonatan Vexler, Qufu Teacher's University, Shandong, China

Published in "Qi: The Journal of Traditional Eastern Health and Fitness," Volume 27, No. 1, Spring 2017, pp. 38-51.

This Treatise is sometimes attributed to Wang Zongyue.

"Taiji (complementary duality) originates from wuji (non-polarity).  It is the process of motion and stillness, also known as the creator of contrast (the yin and yang).  Motion causes separation, while stillness leads to unity.  I allow opponents to advance, and I advance when they recoil.  When my opponents are hard and I am soft it is to flow, successfully following their motions is to stick.  When they move fast, I quickly react, and when they move slowly, I slowly follow.  There can be a thousand scenarios, but the one principle applies to all.  Engrain this principle in practice to understand force, understanding force will lead to higher levels of advancement.  Without a long time of serious practice, one cannot advance.

Emptiness leads power up, while breath sinks down the dantian.  Don't lean, and don't bend.  Able to become shadow and suddenly materialize, if opponents go left, nothing will be there, of opponents go right, let them be led to the right.  If opponents look up, let them go up, and if opponents lean down, let them go lower.  If they go forward, let them have to go more forward, and if they go back, let them have to go even further back.  A feather's weight can't be added, sensitive even to a fly landing on one's skin.  They cannot follow me, only I can follow them.  To be a hero that encounters now opposition, this is what one must do.

Many schools try to mimic this.  There are many different methods, but most emphasize the strong defeating the weak and the slow yielding to the quick.  When the strong beat the weak and the slow yield to the quick, it is only natural ability, and has no relation to the power that comes from learning and wisdom.  Consider the phrase, "four ounces overcoming a thousand pounds", and it obviously cannot be done with brute strength.  Consider the old man who can fend off a gang of attackers; is this outcome determined by sheer speed?

Stand like a balanced level, and be as dynamic as a cartwheel can spin.  Shift weight as needed to be lively, for being uncoordinated stagnates the flow.  If you see one practicing for years without advancing, being controlled by the opponent, it's because one has not heard of the fault of being uncoordinated.  To avoid this fault, one must know about yin and yang.  To stick is to flow, to flow is to stick, yang is within the yin, and yin is within the yang.  They (the passive and the active) compliment each other, so one can understand force.  Identify different forces to advance your training.  Carefully study this knowledge, put it to practice, and you will be able to do anything.

The most basic idea is to follow your opponent.  Many make the mistake of planning ahead.  As the saying goes, "off by an inch, off by a mile", so a student must be able to clearly distinguish!  Hence, there is this treatise."

English Translation of The Tijiquan Lun by Yonatan Vexler, 2017

Tai Chi Chuan Classics 

Cloud Hands Taijiquan   

Chang San Feng

Thirteen Postures of Tai Chi Chuan

The above four webpages were prepared by Mike Garofalo

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Chen Style Tai Chi Chuan, 18 Movements

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.  

Watch Grandmaster Chen Zhenglei perform the short form he created:

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Taijiquan Cane Practices

Walking and exercising with a cane has many health benefits.  Tai Chi Chuan practices with a cane are an interesting addition to a walker's pleasures and fitness.

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, March 20, 2017

Vernal Equinox 2017

This will be our last Spring Season living in beautiful Red Bluff, North Sacramento Valley, California. We will be moving to the City of Vancouver, Washington State, on April 14, 2017.

"Here the white-ray'd anemone is born,
Wood-sorrel, and the varnish'd buttercup;
And primrose in its purfled green swathed up,
Pallid and sweet round every budding thorn,
Gray ash, and beech with rusty leaves outworn.
Here, too the darting linnet hath her nest
In the blue-lustred holly, never shorn,
Whose partner cheers her little brooding breast,
Piping from some near bough. O simple song!
O cistern deep of that harmonious rillet,
And these fair juicy stems that climb and throng
The vernal world, and unexhausted seas
Of flowing life, and soul that asks to fill it,
Each and all of these,--and more, and more than these!"
- William Allingham, In a Spring Grove

"The first day of spring is one thing, and the first spring day is another. The difference between them is sometimes as great as a month."
- Henry Van Dyke, Fisherman's Luck

"The air and the earth interpenetrated in the warm gusts of spring; the soil was full of sunlight, and the sunlight full of red dust. The air one breathed was saturated with earthy smells, and the grass under foot had a reflection of the blue sky in it."
- Willa Cather

"I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils."
- William Wordsworth

Ecology and Mysticism Reading List

My Reading List for the Spring of 2017

Ecomysticism: The Profound Experience of Nature as Spiritual Guide.  By Carl von Essen, M.D..  Bear & Co., 2010.  288 pages.  ISBN: 978159141183.  VSCL.  Thus far, this has been an excellent read.  

Nature Mysticism.  By John Edward Mercer (1857-1922).  CreateSpace Independent Pub., 2016.  178 pages.  ISBN: 9781536805895.  VSCL.  I have the Kindle edition.

Spiritual Ecology: The Cry of the Earth.  Edited by Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee.  The Golden Sufi Center, 2nd Edition, 2016.  336 pages.  ISBN: 97819413994144.  VSCL.  I have the Kindle edition. 

The Spell of the Sensuous: Perception and Language in a More-Than-Human World.  By David Abram.  New York, Vintage, 1996.  Index, bibliography, notes, 326 pages.  ISBN: 978-0679776390.  VSCL.  I've read this book twice. 

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Peaches of Immortality

This peach, these peppers,
These grapes, these tomatoes
Will all soon become me.
Such a tasty fact.
I am That and That is Me.
Bless the gardens!
Bless the gardeners!

Bless the kitchens!
Bless the cooks!  
Bless the food!
-  Mike Garofalo, Pulling Onions

Peach trees and peaches have a special place in my heart.  I carefully tend the peach trees in our orchard, but a bountiful crop is often just a gift, grace, luck. 

"In China, the peach was said to be consumed by the immortals due to its mystic virtue of conferring longevity on all who ate them. The divinity Yu Huang, also called the Jade Emperor, and his mother called Xi Wangmu also known as Queen Mother of the West, ensured the gods' everlasting existence by feeding them the peaches of immortality. The immortals residing in the palace of Xi Wangmu were said to celebrate an extravagant banquet called the Pantao Hui or "The Feast of Peaches". The immortals waited six thousand years before gathering for this magnificent feast; the peach tree put forth leaves once every thousand years and it required another three thousand years for the fruit to ripen. Ivory statues depicting Xi Wangmu's attendants often held three peaches. The peach often plays an important part in Chinese tradition and is symbolic of long life. One example is in the peach-gathering story of Zhang Daoling, who many say is the true founder of Taoism. Elder Zhang Guo, one of the Chinese Eight Immortals, is often depicted carrying a Peach of Immortality." - Wikipedia

Peaches are native to China and introduced to Persia via the Silk Road before Christian times.

Xi Wang Mu, Queen Mother of the West, keeps the Immortals fed with the Sacred Peaches.  "No one knows Her beginning, no one knows Her end."

Ripening Peaches: Taoist Studies and Practices

Xi Wangmu, Braham, the Divine, the Supreme Universal Spirit, the Unmanifested and Manifested, the Absolute, the Everlasting, the Shining, Everything, Food for Life, God ...

Jen Miller sent me her summary of the benefits of eating peaches.

Karen also enjoys our crop of peaches in the summer months in Red Bluff.

Ah, Such a tasty peach!!  

To get peaches in the summer, you must plant bare root peach trees in the winter.  Karen and I have planted nearly 100 trees in our orchard in Red Bluff, California.  We will miss these trees when we move to Vancouver, Washington, in April of 2017.  Someone else will enjoy them for decades.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

On Not Resisting Temptations

Test, try, experiment - within reason.
Manage your pleasures and desires.
Be open to thinking and feeling in new ways.
Sometimes ignore what other people tell you to do or not to do.
Old values are not necessarily better values.
What is "bad" in one generation may be "good" in later times.
Enjoy the pleasure of eating apples.
When someone tells you not to ask, sometimes ask and ask again.
With only one life to live - be bolder.
Don't resist the temptation to improve, to change, to grow.
Like water, enjoy going downhill in new directions.
Embrace intellectual pleasures.
Be suspicious of people who talk too much about guilt and punishment.
Some failures are inevitable, just get up and move on.
Thinking and doing are often more advantageous than believing.
Many people associate sexual pleasure with 'sinfulness': nonsense.
Succumb to temptations to laugh more often.
If you can't take advantage of temptations then you are not free.
Remember what works for you.
When your tempted to be compassionate, act on the impulse.
- Mike Garofalo, Pulling Onions

"Do you really think it is weakness that yields to temptation? I tell you that there are terrible temptations which it requires strength, strength and courage to yield to."
- Oscar Wilde

"The trouble with resisting temptation is it may never come your way again."
- Korman's Law

"For every man there exists a bait which he cannot resist swallowing."
- Friedrich Nietzsche

"If we resist our passions, it is more because of their weakness than because of our strength."
- François, duc de La Rochefoucauld

"Most people want to be delivered from temptation but would like it to keep in touch."
- Robert Orben

"What makes resisting temptation difficult for many people is they don't want to discourage it completely."
- Franklin P. Jones

"The difficulty lies not so much in developing new ideas as in escaping from old ones."
- John Maynard Keynes

"If you have made mistakes, even serious ones, there is always another chance for you. What we call failure is not the falling down, but the staying down."
- Mary Pickford

"The most useless are those who never change through the years."
- James Barrie

Willpower, Resolve, Determination, Progress

Friday, March 17, 2017

Tao Te Ching, Chapter 8

Dao De Jing, Laozi
Chapter 8

"The seer flows like water
Lying low along the way
Nourishing whatever comes
To be held on display
The seer keeps to simple ways
And therefore is content
When joy or sorrow manifests
To give complete assent

If you can clearly be yourself
And never rise to interfere
Everyone will cherish you
And always hold you dear"
-  Translated by Jim Clatfelder, 2000, Chapter 8

"A person with superior goodness (shan) is like water,
Water is good in benefiting (li) all beings,
Without contending (cheng) with any.
Situated in places shunned (o) by many others,
Thereby it is near (chi) Tao.
(Such a person's) dwelling is the good earth,
(His/her) mind (hsin) is the good deep water (yuan),
(His/her) associates are good kind people (jen),
(His/her) speech shows good trust (hsin),
(His/her) governing is the good order,
(His/her) projects (shih) are carried out by good talents (neng),
(His/her) activities (tung) are good in timing.
Because he does not contend (pu cheng) with any,
He commits no wrong."
-  Translated by Ellen Marie Chen, 1989, Chapter 8

"The highest good is like water.
Water give life to the ten thousand things and does not strive.
It flows in places men reject and so is like the Tao.
In dwelling, be close to the land.
In meditation, go deep in the heart.
In dealing with others, be gentle and kind.
In speech, be true.
In ruling, be just.
In daily life, be competent.
In action, be aware of the time and the season.
No fight: No blame."
-  Translated by Gai-fu Feng and Jane English, 1989, Chapter 8 

"The highest goodness that we know has water for its type,
It benefits all things, yet ever flows
To the spot which men disdain, the gutter and the plain,
And so is near the Tao, its archetype.
A residence is excellent according to its place,
A heart for eddies passion never knows,
Generosity for kindness, words for faithfulness,
A government for order, business for its gain,
And movements for their timeliness and grace.
As the man of excellence does not quarrel for his place,
There are none to find fault with him for the places which remain."
-  Translated by Isaac Winter Heysinger, 1903, Chapter 8

"Perfect excellence is like gentle water.
Gentle water benefits all things and yet it does not struggle.
Do away with what all people hate.
Thus this is approaching Dao.
Give to what is of perfect personnel.
Stay in a perfect place,
think in a perfect way,
cooperate with perfect people,
speak perfect truth,
govern in perfect order,
work for perfect potentiality,
move when the time is perfect.
Because of non-struggle, therefore, there is no blame."
-  Translated by Tang Zi-Chang, Chapter 8

夫唯不爭, 故無尤.
-  Chinese characters, Chapter 8, Tao Te Ching 

 shang shan ruo shui.
 shui shan li wan wu er bu zheng.
 chu zhong ren zhi suo wu.
 gu ji yu dao.
 ju shan di xin shan yuan.
 yu shan ren.
 yan shan xin.
 zheng shan zhi.
 shi shan neng.
 dong shan shi.
 fu wei bu zheng, gu wu you.
 -  Pinyin Romanization, Chapter 8, Daodejing

"The best way to life is to be like water
For water benefits all things and goes against none of them
It provides for all people and even cleanses those places a man is loath to go
In this way it is just like Tao
Live in accordance with the nature of things
Build your house on solid ground
Keep your mind still
When giving, be kind
When speaking, be truthful
When ruling, be just
When working, be one-pointed
When acting, remember, timing is everything
One who lives in accordance with nature does not go against the way of things
He moves in harmony with the present moment always knowing the truth of just what to do"
-  Translated by Johathan Star, 2001, Chapter 8 

"The highest form of goodness is like water.
Water knows how to benefit all things without striving with them.
It stays in places loathed by all men.
Therefore, it comes near the Tao.
In choosing your dwelling, know how to keep to  the ground.
In cultivating your mind, know how to dive in  the hidden deeps.
In dealing with others, know how to be gentle and kind.
In speaking, know how to keep your words.
In governing, know how to maintain order.
In transacting business, know how to be efficient.
In making a move, know how to choose the right  moment.
If you do not strive with others,
You will be free from blame."
-  Translated by John C. H. Wu, 1961, Chapter 8 

"El hombre de bondad superior es como el agua.
 El agua en su quietud favorece a todas las cosas,
 ocupa el lugar despreciado por los hombres,
 y así está cerca del dao.
 Su lugar es favorable;
 su corazón, sereno;
 su don, del agrado del cielo;
 su palabra, leal;
 su gobierno, en orden;
 en sus empresas, capaz;
 sus movimientos, oportunos.
 Sólo la falta de quietud
 impide la superación."
 -  Translated by Juan Ignacio Preciado, 1978, Tao Te Ching, Capítulo 8  

"Heavenly Love is like water.
Water blesses all things,
It does not hurt them.
It loves the lowly place that men dislike,
Therefore it comes very near to Tao.
The Master loves to dwell upon the earth.
In his heart he loves Infinity,
In his benevolence he loves giving,
In his words he loves sincerity,
In his government he loves peace,
In his business affairs he loves ability,
In his movements he loves punctuality.
The Master, indeed, does not fight,
Therefore his Inner Life increases."
-  Translated by Isabella Mears, 1916, Chapter 8 

"Highest good is like water.
Because water excels in benefiting the myriad creatures
    without contending with them and settles where none would like to be,
    it comes close to the way.
In a home it is the site that matters;
In quality of mind it is depth that matters;
In an ally it is benevolence that matters;
In speech it is good faith that matters;
In government it is order that matters;
In affairs it is ability that matters;
In action it is timeliness that matters.
It is because it does not contend that it is never at fault."

-  Translated by D. C. Lau, 1963, Chapter 8  

"The highest excellence is like that of water.
 The excellence of water appears in its benefiting all things, and in its occupying,
 Without striving to the contrary, the low place which all men dislike.
 Hence its way is near to that of the Tao.
 The excellence of a residence is in the suitability of the place;
 That of the mind is in abysmal stillness;
 That of associations is in their being with the virtuous;
 That of government is in its securing good order;
 That of the conduct of affairs is in its ability; and,
 That of the initiation of any movement is in its timeliness.
 And when one with the highest excellence does not wrangle about his low position,
 No one finds fault with him."

 -  Translated by James Legge, 1891, Chapter 8

"The foremost goodness is like water.
Water is good at benefiting all living things,
even though there are arguments about how it could reside
in places that most people hate.
In that way it is very close to being like Dao.
It is good at residing in the earth; the mind sees that goodness as bottomless.
It is good at giving through nature; words express that goodness with sincerity.
It is good at showing the right course of governing.
It is good at enabling all work to be completed;
through motion goodness adjusts to the time.
Well then, there is really no reason for arguments.
Because there is nothing that is at fault."

-  Translated by Nina Correa, 2005, Chapter 8  


A typical webpage created by Mike Garofalo for each one of the 81 Chapters (Verses, Sections) of the Tao Te Ching (Daodejing) by Lao Tzu (Laozi) includes 25 different English language translations or interpolations for that Chapter, 5 Spanish language translations for that Chapter, the Chinese characters for that Chapter, the Wade-Giles and Hanyu Pinyin transliterations (Romanization) of the Mandarin Chinese words for that Chapter, and 2 German and 1 French translation of that Chapter.  Each webpage for each one of the 81 Chapters of the Tao Te Ching includes extensive indexing by key words, phrases, and terms for that Chapter in English, Spanish, and the Wade-Giles Romanization.  Each webpage on a Chapter of the Daodejing includes recommended reading in books and websites, a detailed bibliography, some commentary, research leads, translation sources, a Google Translate drop down menu, and other resources for that Chapter.  These are hypertext documents, and available online under Creative Commons 4.


Chapter 8, Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu.  Complied by Mike Garofalo.  

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

The Path: What Chinese Philosophers Can Teach Us About the Good Life,” 2017, by Michael Puett and Christine Gross-Loh.

Tao: The Watercourse Way,” 1977, by Alan Watts and Al Chung-liang Huang.  Illustrated by Lee Chih-chang.  

Thursday, March 16, 2017

How to Change Your Bad Habits

How to Free Up More Time for Productive and Practical Success
Applied with Reason and Practical Wisdom

“Making excuses
Focusing on the negatives
Fearing failure
Looking for the easy way
Beating yourself up
Being ungrateful
Concentrating solely on your needs
Getting distracted
Living aimlessly
Giving up.”
– Mike Oppland, 10 Things You Need to Stop Doing to Be Successful, 2016

“Don’t work only in your comfort zone
Don’t do without first learning
Don’t be afraid of asking for advice
Don’t get lost in the small details
Don’t multitask
Don’t lie to yourself
Don’t procrastinate in asking for feedback
Don’t follow, do lead
Don’t let your past dictate your future
Don’t hang around negative people.”
– Carl Preston, Ten Habits to Give Up to Increase Productivity, 2016

“Don’t do the following:
Overlook the possibility to save money
Heavily rely on others
Act irresponsibly
Feel defeated just because you need to reevaluate your convictions
Dwell on your errors
Permit your past from holding you back
Rely on good luck to solve your problems
Neglect important aspects of your business
Hesitate to learn from your mistakes
Give up on your good ideas just because other people don’t agree with them
Make strong remarks that can make you look weak in the future
Lose the opportunity to broaden your experience
Back off from a good cause
Waste the potentials of their gadgets
Overestimate their abilities
Make redundant enemies
Allow their pride to get in the way
Put all your eggs in one basket
Lie to themselves that everything will be easy
Take unnecessary risks.”
– Djordje Todorovic, Things Smart People Don’t Do, 2016

“Watch less mundane television
Reduce internet browsing time
Avoid ignorant and negative people
Avoid organized religions
Stop using any recreational drugs
Avoid sitting for too long
Give up childish ideas and pipe dreams.”
– Michael P. Garofalo, Free Up More Time for Productive Activity, 2016