Sunday, May 27, 2018

Experience and Movement

"In general, there is no isolated sensory experience.  From the beginning, there is a tendency towards testing each new sensory experience by the other senses.  ... We have shown that it is not legitimate to speak of a sensory impression separately from motor-vegetative changes."
-  Moshe Feldenkrais, Body and Mature Behavior, 1949, p.112

The Potent Self: A Study of Spontaneity and Compulsion.  By Moshe Feldenkrais.  Foreword by Mark Reese.  This book was originally written in the late 1940's.  Frog Books, 2002.  288 pages.  ISBN: 978-1583940686.  VSCL.  

"Moshe Feldenkrais, D.Sc., a visionary scientist who pioneered the field of mind-body education and therapy, has inspired countless people worldwide.  His ability to translate his theories on human function into action resulted in the creation of his technique, now known as the Feldenkrais Method of Somatic Education.  In The Potent Self, Feldenkrais delves deeply into the relationship between faulty posture, pain, and the underlying emotional mechanisms that lead to compulsive and dependent human behavior. He shares remarkable insights into resistance, motivation, habit formation, and the place of sex in full human potential.  The Potent Self offers Feldenkrais' vision of how to achieve physical and mental wellness through the development of authentic maturity.  This edition includes and extensive Forward by Mark Reese, a longtime student of Feldenkrais, in which Reese discusses many of the important ideas in the book and places them in the context of Feldenkrais' life and the intellectual and historical milieu of his time."  - Quote from AmazonBooks

Body and Mature Behavior: A Study of Anxiety, Sex, Gravitation, and Learning.  By Moshe Feldenkrais.  Foreword by Carl Ginsburg.  Berkeley, California, Frog Books, Somatic Resources, 2005.  Index, 233 pages.  ISBN: 978-1583941157.  VSCL.

These essays were first presented as lectures to members of the Association of Scientific Workers at Fairlie, Scotland, given in 1943-1944.  They were first printed in book form in 1949.  Moshe Feldenkrais worked for the British Admiralty during World War II on submarine research in Scotland, and taught self-defense since he was a Judo Master.  Dr. Feldenkrais discusses learning, movement and consciousness, the psychological and physiological development of humans, recent research in psychology, training and reeducation, mind-body unity, instincts, anxiety, habits, and the impact of gravity on our soma/psyche.  It was written before Dr. Feldenkrais developed his somatic Awareness Through Movement methods and educational theories.  His topics and conclusions are wide-ranging. 

Moshe Feldenkrais  (1904-1984)
Awareness Through Movement, Functional Integration
Bibliography, Links, Quotes, Notes


Saturday, May 26, 2018

Learning Tai Chi from Instructional DVDs

Here is an blog post of mine from 2015.  It pertains to learning a particular Taijiquan Form (e.g., Chen 18, Yang 24) from instructional DVDs and books:

The most frequent question I am asked is "Where I live there are no Taijiquan teachers of the the Taijiquan style X that I want to learn.  How do I go about learning Taijiquan Style X?"

You always need to learn Tai Chi by observing someone doing the Taijiquan form you are studying, and listening carefully to their instructions.  Fortunately, in 2015, for most Taijiquan forms, you have from two to ten different choices of very knowledgeable instructors or Masters who teach the Taijiquan form that you are learning by means of good instructional DVDs or videos.  Also, for some popular Taijiquan forms there are excellent books or manuals available for the form you are learning, or very good online webpages on the form.  Sometimes there are VCDs that can be played on a home computer.  Finally, there are some online courses and UTube demonstrations of the form you are learning.  

You are learning the "basics" from a good live teacher and/or a good writer.  All Taijiquan is learned this way.  

My own webpages provide extensive bibliographies of these many learning resources.  I also provide many suggestions and remarks about learning specific forms using DVDs, videos, and books, e.g.,  Standard 24 Taijiquan Form.  

Instructional DVDs come in NTSC and PAL formats, with NTSC format being used on DVD players in the United States.  If you are purchasing your DVD from  outside the United States it is most likely in the PAL format and will not work properly on your DVD player.  Caveat Emptor.  

I use a small desktop DVD player.  My Vzon model, playing the NTSC format, has a hand held DVD controller and controls on the machine.  I no longer use instructional VHS videos, because you can't as easily cue as with DVDs. 

You want to purchase a DVD that teaches the Taijiquan form.  You want an instructional DVD, not a demonstration DVD.  Advanced Tai Chi students can sometimes learn from a demonstration DVD, but not without much difficulty.  All Tai Chi learners can benefit from a good instructional DVD that breaks the form down into discrete sections (lessons, blocks) and provides detailed verbal instructions on how to perform the movements in each section.  Sometimes a section is called a "lesson" and might include three or four movements of the form.  The best instructional DVDs feature frequent repetition of a movement, clear voice over narration, the use of different camera angles for showing a movement sequence, sectional performance demonstrations, and complete demonstrations of the form from a front and back view.  It is essential to get the narration in the language you use, because it is very hard to read subtitles and carefully study the the movements visually at the same time.   

Study each DVD lesson carefully, make notes, memorize the names of the movements in that lesson, then immediately practice each lesson until you can perform the movement sequence in the lesson on your own.  Repeat, repeat, repeat!!  Don't move on to the next lesson until you can perform the movements in the lesson you are studying on your own.  Give yourself a little slack and accept being just "satisfactory" at performing each lesson.  Over time you will refine and perfect your performance.   

After learning the first lesson, then proceed in the same manner to learn the second lesson.  Then combine the first and second lesson and practice them together until you can perform them on your own.  Don't move on to lesson three until you can easily and smoothly perform lessons one and two combined.  To "learn" means to me to be able to remember and easily, consistently, and smoothly perform a sequence of movements on your own.  Study Lesson 1, practice and learn Lesson 1; study Lesson 2, practice and learn Lessons 1 + 2; study Lesson 3, practice and learn Lessons 1 + 2 + 3; study Lesson 4, practice and learn Lessons 1 + 2 + 3 +4, etc. 

As with all learning the keys are: daily study, careful study, paying attention, remembering, daily practice, patience, repetition, visualization, verbal cues, making notes, and confidence.  Take your time, don't rush, be patient.  The process of learning might take months. 

Here are some suggestions from Robert Chuckrow: 

"Whereas a form-instruction video is no substitute for a qualified teacher, those who live far from any teacher are still better off learning from a video than if they had no instruction at all. For those who have a teacher, a video can augment and accelerate the learning process. Finally, those who have had prior instruction in internal arts should be able to attain a substantial benefit from a video.

One method of learning a form from a video is to repeatedly do the entire form or blocks of the form along with the video. However, this method is not efficient because there is insufficient opportunity to reinforce each movement. A better way is to refrain from doing movement while watching the video. Rather, it is good to choose a small block of material, watch it a few times. Then, without any major physical action, visualize the sequence of movements as clearly as possible. Next, go back to the beginning of that block of material, and view and visualize it again a few times. Only after clear and complete visualization is achieved should the movements be attempted physically.

At first it will seem extremely difficult to work this way. With persistence, however, it is possible to achieve a level of visualization so intense that the imagined movements are almost as vivid as those seen on a TV screen. The dividends of the process of visualization are twofold: (1) By subduing the physical aspects of movement (e.g., balance, coordination, kinetic sense, timing), you can completely focus the mind on the details of the movement. (2) By cultivating the ability to visualize and mentally encompass complex details, you become increasingly able to observe and learn new movements quickly, especially in situations where it is not feasible to move while observing (e.g., dreams, teacher showing movements while the class watches). Referring to the dimension of self-defense, the more you can observe and mentally encompass the movements of the opponent, the greater the advantage achieved." 
- Robert Chuckrow, The Tai Chi Book, YMAA Publication Center, Boston, MA, 1998, pp. 119–120

Friday, May 25, 2018

Tao Te Ching, Chapter 23

Daodejing, Laozi
Chapter 23

"To be always talking is against nature.
For the same reason a hurricane never lasts a whole morning,
Nor a rainstorm all day.
Who is it that makes the wind and rain?
It is Heaven-and Earth.
And if even Heaven-and Earth cannot blow or pour for long,
How much less in his utterance should man?
Truly, if one uses the Way as one's instrument,
The results will be like the Way;
If one uses the “power” as instrument,
The results will be like the “power”.
If one uses what is the reverse of the “power”,
The results will be the reverse of the “power”.
For to those who have conformed themselves to the Way,
The Way readily lends its power.
To those who have conformed themselves to the power,
The power readily, lends more power.
While to those who conform themselves to inefficacy,
Inefficacy readily lends its ineffectiveness.
“It is by not believing in people that you turn them into liars.”"
-  Translated by Arthur Waley, 1934, Chapter 23 

"Nature does not have to insist,
Can blow for only half a morning,
Rain for only half a day,
And what are these winds and these rains but natural?
If nature does not have to insist,
Why should man?
It is natural too
That whoever follows the way of life feels alive,
That whoever uses it properly feels well used,
Whereas he who loses the way of life feels lost,
That whoever keeps to the way of life
Feels at home,
Whoever uses it properly
Feels welcome,
Whereas he who uses it improperly
Feels improperly used:
'Fail to honor people,
They fail to honor you."
-  Translated by Witter Bynner, 1944, Chapter 23

"With few words affirm the Self.
A great wind does not blow all the morning,
A heavy wind does not continue all day.
Why is this so?
It is because of the inter-relations of Heaven and Earth.
If Heaven and Earth cannot make things last long.
How much less can man?
Therefore he who follows the service of Tao is one with Tao,
He who is virtuous is one with Teh,
He who fails is one with failure.
He who is one with Tao,
Tao shall also claim him.
He who is one with Teh
Teh shall also claim him.
He who is one with failure,
Failure shall also claim him.
Faith that is not complete is not faith."
-  Translated by Isabella Mears, 1916, Chapter 23

"To be sparing of words is natural.
A violent wind cannot last a whole morning; pelting rain cannot last a whole day.
Who have made these things but heaven and earth?
Inasmuch as heaven and earth cannot last forever, how can man?
He who engages himself in Tao is identified with Tao.
He who engages himself in virtue is identified with virtue.
He who engages himself in abandonment is identified with abandonment.
Identified by Tao, he will be well received by Tao.
Identified with virtue, he will be well received by virtue.
Identified with abandonment, he will be well received by abandonment."
-  Translated by Ch'u Ta-Kao, 1904, Chapter 23 

孰為此者, 天地.
同於道者, 道亦樂得之.
同於德者, 德亦樂得之.
同於失者, 失亦樂得之.
信不足焉, 有不信焉. 
-  Chinese characters, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 23

xi yan zi ran.
gu piao feng bu zhong zhao.
zhou yu bu zhong ri.
shu wei ci zhe, tian di.
tian di shang bu neng jiu.
er kuang yu ren hu.
gu cong shi yu dao zhe.
dao zhe tong yu dao.
de zhe tong yu de.
shi zhe tong yu shi.
tong yu dao zhe, dao yi le de zhi.
tong yu de zhe, de yi le de zhi.
tong yu shi zhe, shi yi le de zhi.
xin bu zu yan, you bu xin yan!
-  Pinyin Romanization, Daodejing, Chapter 23 
"Sparing indeed is the Nature of its Talk ...
Sparing indeed is nature of its talk:
The whirlwind will not last the morning out;
The cloudburst ends before the day is done.
What is it that behaves itself like this?
The earth and sky! And if it be that these
Cut short their speech, how much more yet should man!
If you work by the Way,
You will be of the Way;
If you work through its virtue
you will be given the virtue;
Abandon either one
And both abandon you.
Gladly then the Way receives
Those who choose to walk in it;
Gladly too its power upholds
Those who choose to use it well;
Gladly will abandon greet
Those who to abandon drift.
Little faith is put in them
Whose faith is small."
-  Translated by Raymond Blackney, 1955, Chapter 23

"Hablar poco es lo natural.
Un huracán no dura toda la mañana.
Un aguacero no dura todo el día.
¿Quién hace estas cosas?
El cielo y la tierra.
Sí las cosas del cielo y la tierra
no pueden durar eternamente,
¿cómo pretende el hombre que sus cosas sí lo hagan?
Así, quien acepta al Tao
se une al Tao.
Quien acepta la virtud,
se une a la virtud.
Quien acepta la pérdida,
se une a esa pérdida.
Quien se identifica con una de estas cosas,
por ella es acogido y podrá avanzar plenamente.
Ábrete al Tao,
después confía en tus respuestas naturales
y todo encajará en su sitio."
-  Translation from Wikisource, 2013, Capitulo 23  

"To speak little is natural.
Therefore a gale does not blow a whole morning
Nor does a downpour last a whole day.
Who does these things? Heaven and Earth.
If even Heaven and Earth cannot force perfect continuity
How can people expect to?
Therefore there is such a thing as aligning one's actions with the Tao.
If you accord with the Tao you become one with it.
If you accord with virtue you become one with it.
If you accord with loss you become one with it.
The Tao accepts this accordance gladly.
Virtue accepts this accordance gladly.
Loss also accepts accordance gladly.
If you are untrustworthy, people will not trust you."
-  Translated by Charles Muller, 1891, Chapter 23

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 up to 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 23, 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


Thursday, May 24, 2018

Beauty Draws Us Higher

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

“A man should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture every day of his life, in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of the beautiful implanted in the human soul.”
- Johann Wolfgang Goethe

"Spirituality is meant to take us beyond our tribal identity into a domain of awareness that is more universal."
- Deepak Chopra

"Some keep the Sabbath going to Church,
I keep it staying at Home -
With a bobolink for a Chorister,
And an Orchard, for a Dome."
- Emily Dickinson, No. 324, St. 1, 1862 

"Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old."
- Franz Kafka

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Taiji Characteristics

Characteristics of Yang Style Taijiquan

     "The distinctive characteristics of Yang Chengfu style Taijiquan are: the postures are relaxed and expansive, simple and clean, precise in composition; the body method is centered and aligned, not inclining or leaning; the movements are harmonious and agreeable, containing hard and soft, uniting lightness of spirit and heaviness of application.  In training, one attains softness from loosening/relaxing (song).  In accumulating softness one develops hardness; hardness and softness benefit one another [mutually interact].  

     The postures may be high, middle or low, so that one is able to make appropriate adjustments in the measure of the movements according to factors of age differences, sex, bodily strength, or differing demands of the student.  Because of this, it is as suitable for treating illness or protecting health as it is for increasing strength and fitness or increasing the artistic skill of one who is relatively strong to begin with.

     The postures of Yang style Taijiquan are expansive and open, light yet heavy, nature, centered and upright, rounded and even, simple, vigorous, and dignified,─because of this, one is able to quite naturally express and individual style that is grand and beautiful."

-  Introduction by Gu Liuxin, pp. 7-8.  Found in Mastering Yang Style Taijiquan.  Bu Fu Zhongwen (1903-1994).  Translated by Louis Swaim.  Berkeley, California, Blue Snake Books, North Atlantic Books, 1999, 2006.  Glossary, bibliography, 226 pages.  Translations of many Tai Chi classics are included.  A list of the 85 movement long form and detailed notes and descriptions of each movement are provided. 

Monday, May 21, 2018

Sailing Through the Northwest Passage

I really enjoyed watching the documentary about people sailing the Northwest Passage in the Arctic realms of Northern Canada.  The documentary is now on Netflix and is titled "The Polar Sea."  

Because of global warming the ice is melting in this polar region with a dramatic effect on the landscape, animals, and humans. 

Stan Rogers (1949-1983) composed this song.  

"Westward from the Davis Strait 'tis there 'twas said to lie
The sea route to the Orient for which so many died
Seeking gold and glory, leaving broken weathered bones
And a long forgotten lonely cairn of stones

Ah for just one time I would take the Northwest Passage
To find the hand of Franklin reaching for the Beaufort Sea
Tracing one warm line through a land so wild and savage
And make a Northwest Passage to the sea

Three centuries thereafer I take passage overland
In the footsteps of brave Kelso, where his "sea of flowers" began
Watching cities rise before me, and behind me sink again
This tardiest explorer driving hard across the plain

Ah for just one time I would take the Northwest passage
To find the hand of Franklin reaching for the Beaufort Sea
Tracing one warm line through a land so wild and savage
To make a Northwest Passage to the sea

Through the night, behind the wheel, the mileage clicking west
I think upon Mackenzie, David Thompson and the rest
Who cracked the mountain ramparts
and showed a path for me
To race the roaring Fraser to the sea

How then am I so different from the first men to this way
Like them I led a sheltered life and threw it all away
To seek a Northwest Passage at the call of many men
To find there but the road back home again

Ah for just one time I would take the Northwest Passage
To find the hand of Franklin reaching for the Beaufort Sea
Tracing one warm line through a land so wild and savage
And make a northwest passage to the sea
And make a Northwest Passage to the sea."
-  Stan Rogers, 1981

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Actions and Deeds

"The shortest answer is doing."
-  George Herbert

"No one is wise by birth.  Wisdom results from one's own efforts."
-  Krishnamacharya    

"Will is character in action."
-  William McDougall

"Willpower is the art of replacing one habit for another."
-  Michael Garofalo  

"It is really vain to express the nature of something.  We notice effects, and a complete account of these effects would perhaps comprise the nature of this thing.  We attempt in vain to describe the character of a man; but a description of his actions and his deeds will create for us a picture of his character."
-  Goethe, The Theory of Colors

Will Power: Quotes, Sayings

Virtue Ethics

How to Live a Good Life 

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Orchards Community Park

I enjoy walking at Orchards Community Park in Northeast Vancouver, Washington.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Daodejing, Laozi, Chapter 22

Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu
Chapter 22

"In cultivating the Tao there are first the sprouts; then perfection.
First, there is perversion; then rectification.
First there is hollowness and receptivity; then plenitude.
First there is destruction of the old; then renovation.
First there is humility; then acquisition.
Self-sufficiency is followed by suspicion on the part of others.
Therefore, the Sage preserves unity in his heart and becomes a pattern to the whole world.
He does not say of himself that he can see, and therefore he is perspicacious.
He does not say of himself that he is right, and therefore he is manifested to all.
He does pot praise himself, and therefore his merit is recognized.
He is not self-conceited, and therefore he increases in knowledge.
And as he never strives with anybody, so the world does not strive with him.
Can that saying of the olden times—"First the sprouts, then perfection"—be called meaningless?
The attainment of genuine perfection implies a reversion to the original nature of man."
-  Translated by Frederic H. Balfour, 1884, Chapter 22     

"The imperfect is completed.
The crooked is straightened.
The empty is filled.
The old is renewed.
With few there is attainment.
With much there is confusion.
Therefore the sage grasps the one and becomes the model for all.
She does not show herself, and therefore is apparent.
She does not affirm herself, and therefore is acknowledged.
She does not boast and therefore has merit.
She does not strive and is therefore successful.
It is exactly because she does not contend, that nobody can contend with her.
How could the ancient saying, "The imperfect is completed" be regarded as empty talk?
Believe in the complete and return to it."
-  Translated by Charles Muller, 1891, Chapter 22

"Yield, and maintain integrity.
To bend is to be upright;
to be empty is to be full. 
Those who have little have much to gain, 
but those who have much 
may be confused by possessions.
The wise man embraces the all encompassing;
he is unaware of himself, and so has brilliance;
not defending himself, he gains distinction; 
not seeking fame, he receives recognition; 
not making false claims, he does not falter;
and not being quarrelsome, 
is in conflict with no one.
This is why it was said by the sages of old,
"Yield, and maintain integrity;
be whole, and all things come to you"."
-  Translated by Stan Rosenthal, 1984, Chapter 22 
"That which is incomplete becomes complete.
The crooked becomes straight,
The empty becomes full,
The worn-out becomes new.
He who obtains has little,
He who scatters has much.
That is why the self-controlled man holds to Unity and brings it into manifestation for men.
He looks not at self, therefore he sees clearly;
He asserts not himself, therefore he shines;
He boasts not of self, therefore he has merit;
He glorifies not himself, therefore he endures.
The Master indeed does not strive, yet no one in the world can strive against him.
The words of the Ancients were not empty words:
"That which is incomplete becomes complete."
Acquire completeness by returning it."
-  Translated by Isabella Mears, 1916, Chapter 22 

夫唯不爭, 故天下莫能與之爭.
古之所謂曲則全者, 豈虛言哉.
-  Chinese characters, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 22

qu ze quan.
 wang ze zhi.
 wa ze ying.
 bi ze xin,
 shao ze de,
 duo ze huo.
 shi yi sheng ren bao yi wei tian xia shi.
 bu zi jian gu ming.
 bu zi shi gu zhang.
 bu zi fa.
 gu you gong bu zi jin gu zhang.
 fu wei bu zheng, gu tian xia mo neng yu zhi zheng.
 gu zhi suo wei qu ze quan zhe, qi xu yan zai.
 cheng quan er gui zhi.
 -  Pinyin Romanization, Daodejing, Chapter 22

"'Yield and you need not break:
 Bent you can straighten,
 Emptied you can hold,
 Torn you can mend;
 And as want can reward you
 So wealth can bewilder.
 Aware of this, a wise man has the simple return
 Which other men seek:
 Without inflaming himself
 He is kindled,
 Without explaining himself
 Is explained,
 Without taking credit
 Is accredited,
 Laying no claim
 Is acclaimed
 And, because he does not compete,
 Finds peaceful competence.
 How true is the old saying,
 'Yield and you need not break'!
 How completely it comes home!"
 -  Translated by Witter Bynner, 1944, Chapter 22

"Acepta y serás completo,
Inclinate y serás recto,
Vacíate y quedarás lleno,
Decae, y te renovarás,
Desea, y conseguirás,
Buscando la satisfacción quedas confuso.

El Sabio acepta el Mundo
Como el Mundo acepta el Tao;
No se muestra a si mismo, y así es visto claramente,
No se justifica a si mismo, y por eso destaca,
No se empeña, y así realiza su obra,
No se glorifica, y por eso es excelso,
No busca la lucha, y por eso nadie lucha contra él.

Los Santos decían, "acepta y serás completo",
Una vez completo, el Mundo es tu hogar."
-  Translated by Antonio Rivas, 1998, Chapter 22 
"To yield is to be preserved whole.
To be bent is to become straight.
To be hollow is to be filled.
To be tattered is to be renewed.
To be in want is to possess.
To have plenty is to be confused.
Therefore the Sage embraces the One,
And becomes the model of the world.
He does not reveal himself,
   And is therefore luminous.
He does not justify himself,
   And is therefore far-famed.
He does not boast of himself,
   And therefore people give him credit.
He does not pride himself,
   And is therefore the chief among men.
Is it not indeed true, as the ancients say,
   "To yield is to be preserved whole?"
Thus he is preserved and the world does him homage."
-  Translated by Lin Yutang, 1948, Chapter 22 

"If you want to become whole,
first let yourself become broken.
If you want to become straight,
first let yourself become twisted.
If you want to become full,
first let yourself become empty.
If you want to become new,
first let yourself become old.
Those whose desires are few get them,
those whose desires are great go astray.

For this reason the Master embraces the Tao,
as an example for the world to follow.
Because she isn't self centered,
people can see the light in her.
Because she does not boast of herself,
she becomes a shining example.
Because she does not glorify herself,
she becomes a person of merit.
Because she wants nothing from the world,
the world can not overcome her.

When the ancient Masters said,
"If you want to become whole,
then first let yourself be broken,"
they weren't using empty words.
All who do this will be made complete."
-  Translated by John H. McDonald, 1996, Chapter 22 

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 up to 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 22, 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


Thursday, May 17, 2018

Tai Chi Cane Solo Practices

Cane, Walking Stick, Short Staff
Bibliography, Links, Resources, Lessons, Guides, History, Lore
Hypertext Notebook by Mike Garofalo

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Go Beyond Surfaces

"A friend's son was in the first grade of school, and his teacher asked the class, "What is the color of apples?"  Most of the children answered red.  A few said green.  Kevinn, my friend's son, raised his hand and said white.  The teacher tried to explain that apples could be red, green or sometimes golden, but never white.  Kevin was quite insistent and finally said, "Look inside."  Perception without mindfulness keeps us on the surface of things, and we often miss other levels of reality."
-  Joseph Goldstein, Insight Meditation

"It takes a little talent to see clearly what lies under one's nose, a good deal of it to know in which direction to point that organ."
-  W. H. Auden    

"Art is not what you see, but what you make others see."
-  Edgar Degas   

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

The Green God Fell to His Knees

"There lies within
A hidden glen
An altar made of stone.
Creeping vine
And moss entwine
To hide this ancient throne.
Tangled thorn
Grows thick to scorn
Those who seek to enter.
For though they strive
No man alive
Shall ever reach its center.
Known as Pan,
To some Green Man,
This glen is his sacred place.
He dons his hood
Of wildwood
To hide his leafy face.
The roving clans
That raped the lands,
Cut down his beloved trees.
And so, alas
As time did pass
The Green God fell to his knees. ..."
- Kristina Peters Moone, The Green Man

"The force that through the green fuse drives the flower
Drives my green age; that blasts the roots of trees
Is my destroyer.
And I am dumb to tell the crooked rose
My youth is bent by the same wintry fever.

The force that drives the water through the rocks
Drives my red blood; that dries the mouthing streams
Turns mine to wax.
And I am dumb to mouth unto my veins
How at the mountain spring the same mouth sucks."
-   Dylan Thomas, The Force That Through the Green Fuse Drives the Flower

Lore, Legends, Tales, Celebrations, Springtime Symbols, Folk Stories and Plays
From the hypertext research notebooks of Mike Garofalo

This cabbage, these carrots, these potatoes,
these onions ... will soon become me.
Such a tasty fact!
- Mike Garofalo, Cuttings

Portrait of the Emperor Rudolph II as Autumn.By Arcimboldo, 1591, Held at the Museo Civico, Brescia. 

Monday, May 14, 2018

Forest Epiphanies

"The smell of the sea hugged the fog in the redwood trees,
All cool and dank, dimly lit and rank with green,
And in shadowed limbs the Stellar jays jabbered free,
And me, standing silently, an alien in this enchanted scene.

From behind the mossy grey stumps
the sounds of footsteps crunching fronds of ferns
caught my suddenly wary mind ...

"Hello, old friend," said Chang San Feng.
"Master Chang, what a surprise," said I.
Master Chang sat on a stump, smiled, and said,

"Can you hear the Blue Dragon singing in the decaying tree;
Or is it the White Tiger roaring in the wilderness of your bright white skull?
No matter!  The answer is in the questioning; don't you Chan men see?

In the red ball flesh of this decaying tree
Sapless woody shards of centuries of seasons
Nourish the new roots of mindfulness sprouting.
Yes, Yes, but how can it be?
The up-surging waves of life sprout forth from the decaying tree,
As sure as sunrise rolling over the deep black sea.
Coming, coming, endlessly coming; waves of Chi.

Tan Qian's raven roosts for 10,000 moons
     in the withered branches of the rotting tree;
     then, one day, the weathered tree falls,
     nobody hearing, soundlessly crashing
     on the forest floor, on some unknown noon.

Over and over, over and over, life bringing death, death bringing life,
Beyond even the miraculous memories of an old Xian like me;
Watching, watching, sequestered from the strife,
Turning my soul away sometimes because I cannot bear to see.

Even minds may die, but Mind is always free
Bounding beyond, beyond, far beyond you and me;
Somehow finding the Possibility Keys
And unlocking the Door out of the Voids of Eternities."

Master Chang somehow, someway,
slowly disappeared into the red brown heart of the decaying tree.

Then the squawk of the jay
opened my mind's eye to the new day -

-  Michael P. Garofalo
   Meetings with Master Chang San Feng
   Remembering Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, California, 2012

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Happy Mother's Day

The Permanence of Impermanence

Cherry trees will blossom every year;
But I'll disappear for good,
One of these days.
- Philip Whalen, 1923 -June 26, 2002
Zen priest, Abbot of San Francisco Hartfort Street Zen Center
Associated with West Coast Beat poets

all creeping things -
the bell of transience.
- Issa

Life is pleasant. Death is peaceful. It's the transition that's troublesome.
- Isaac Asimov

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Cane Weapon Practices

Cane, Walking Stick, Short Staff
Bibliography, Links, Resources, Lessons, Guides, History, Lore
Hypertext Notebook by Mike Garofalo.  

Cane Fighting: The Authoritative Guide to Using the Cane or Walking Stick for Self-Defense. By Sammy Franco. Contemporary Fighting Arts, 2016. 242 pages. ISBN: 978-1941845301. More emphasis on using a thicker and longer walking stick, like a Japanese Jo, rather than an inconspicuous cane. VSCL.

Raising Cane: The Unexpected Martial Art. By Octavio Ramos. Velluminous Press, 2006. 188 pages. ISBN: 1905605102. This book features fairly detailed explanations with illustrations of many cane strikes, blocks, and maneuvers by a former sheriff. Black and white photographs and descriptions of all cane techniques. VSCL.

Essential Jo: Comprehensive Techniques and 2 Person Drills for the Japanese 4-foot Staff. By Dan Djurdjevic. Pikkeljig, 2015. 156 pages. ISBN: 978-0992511333. "The jo is the Japanese 4-foot staff, originally taught with the ken (sword) in the samurai arts. Essential Jo is arguably the most comprehensive text on the subject to date, offering a course of study from white through to black belt in this practical, yet elegant, art. The book features over 900 professional black and white photographs accompanied by clear, detailed textual explanations. While it is intended primarily for students with experience in weapons arts, particularly jodo, the book can also be used by beginners for home study. The art of jodo makes an excellent addition to any martial art system. This is the first instructional text by award-winning martial arts writer and teacher Dan Djurdjevic."

Friday, May 11, 2018

Tao Te Ching, Chapter 21

Daodejing, Laozi
Chapter 21

"A virtuous person comes into being only according to the Tao.
Tao is something which is obscure and indistinct.
Indistinct and obscure —
yet there is an appearance.
Obscure and indistinct —
yet there is a substance.
Vague and dim —
yet there is an essence within it.
This essence is genuine.
There is truth within it.
Since ancient times until now, its name never forsaken,
it stands there to guard all the good deeds.
How do I know all the good deeds are guarded by this Tao?
I know.
-  Translated by Chao-Hsiu Chen, 2004, Chapter 21  

"The grandest aspects of producing force
Find Tao their energizing way and source;
In Tao things move unseen, impalpable,
Yet in it form and semblance brood and dwell;
Impalpable, invisible, yet things
Float forth within on transcendental wings;
Dark and profound, yet lo! within it there,
Are the pure essences which aeons bear;
It holds the truth, it keeps its ancient name,
And watches all that from the beginning came;
From the Beginning! How know I this is so?
By this, it is the Tao, by this I know!"
-  Translated by Isaac Winter Heysinger, 1903, Chapter 21

"The impression made by magnificent Te comes only from Tao.
Tao is a something but elusive, but evasive.
Evasive, elusive, inside it lies the mind's true form.
Elusive, evasive, inside it lies something substantial.
Shadowy, dim.
Inside it lies vital energy.
This energy is very strong inside it lies true genuineness.
From ancient times until today
Its name has not been forgotten allowing us to see the beginnings of everything.
How do I recognize the form of the beginnings of everything?
By this low in the cycle of Change, which is Love and Beauty.
How do I know this?
By my comprehension of the Dao."
-  Translated by Michael LaFargue, 1992, Chapter 21  

"The complete manifestation of things visible proceeds only from Life.
In its nature Life is always coming into activity, yet in itself it eludes our sight and tough.
Eluding sight! eluding touch!
Within it are hid the plane of created things.
Eluding touch! eluding sight!
Within it are hid all created beings.
It is profound! It is obscure!
Within it is hid pure Spirit.
It is pure Spirit, enfolding Truth!
Within it is hid an infallible witness.
Free of Old until Now
Its Name remains unchanged.
Through its Doorway comes the Universe into existence.
How do I know that the Universe is coming to full perfection through Life?
The witness is in Life itself."
-  Translated by Isabella Mears, 1916, Chapter 21 

孔德之容, 唯道是從.
道之為物, 唯恍唯惚.
惚兮恍兮, 其中有象.
恍兮忽兮, 其中有物.
窈兮冥兮, 其中有精.
其精甚,  其中有信.

-  Chinese characters, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 21

k'ung tê chih jung, wei tao shih ts'ung.
tao chih wei wu, wei huang wei hu.
hu hsi huang hsi, ch'i chung yu hsiang.
huang hsi hu hsi, ch'i chung yu wu.
yao hsi ming hsi, ch'i chung yu ching.
ch'i ching shên, chên ch'i chung yu hsin. 
tzu ku chi chin ch'i ming pu ch'ü.
yi yüeh chung fu.
wu ho yi chih chung fu chih jan tsai.
yi tz'u.
-  Wade-Giles Romanization, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 21

"The great virtue as manifested is but following the Tao.
Tao is a thing that is both invisible and intangible.
Intangible and invisible, yet there are forms in it;
Invisible and intangible, yet there is substance to it;
Subtle and obscure, there is essence in it;
This essence being invariably true, there is faith in it.
From of old till now, it has never lost its nameless name,
Through which the origin of all things has passed.
How do I know it is so with the origin of all things?
By this Tao."
-  Translated by Ch'u Ta-Kao, 1904, Chapter 21 

"One of deep virtue cherishes the subtle essence of the universe.
 The subtle essence of the universe is elusive and evasive.
 Though it is elusive and evasive,
 it unveils itself as images and forms.
 Evasive and elusive,
 it discloses itself as indefinable substance.
 Shadowy and indistinct,
 it reveals itself as impalpable subtle essence.
 This essence is so subtle, and yet so real.
 It is the subtle origin of the whole of creation and non-creation.
 It existed prior to the beginning of time as the single deep and subtle reality of the universe.
 It brings all into being."
 -  Translated by Ni Hua Ching, 1995, Chapter 21

"La virtud se expresa siguiendo al Tao.
Tao es evasivo e intengible
Pero expresa toda forma y sustancia;
Tao es oscuro y sútil
Pero expresa toda la Naturaleza;
La Naturaleza no cambia,
Pero expresa toda sensación.
Desde antes del conocimiento
El Tao ha expresado todas las cosas.
¿Cómo puedo saber?
Confiando en mis sentidos."
-  Translated by Antonio Rivas, 1998, Chapter 21 

"In his every movement a man of great virtue
Follows the way and the way only.
As a thing the way is
Shadowy and indistinct.
Indistinct and shadowy,
Yet within it is an image;
Shadowy and indistinct,
Yet within it is a substance.
Dim and dark,
Yet within it is an essence.
This essence is quite genuine
And within it is something that can be tested.
From the present back to antiquity,
Its name never deserted it.
It serves as a means for inspecting the fathers of the multitude.
How do I know that the fathers of the multitude are like that?
By means of this."
-  Translated by D. C. Lau, 1963, Chapter 21  

"The mightiest manifestations of active force flow solely from Tao.
Tao in itself is vague, impalpable, how impalpable, how vague!
Yet within it there is Form.
How vague, how impalpable!
Yet within it there is Substance.
How profound, how obscure!
Yet within it there is a Vital Principle.
This principle is the Quintessence of Reality, and out of it comes Truth.
From of old until now, its name has never passed away.
It watches over the beginning of all things.
How do I know this about the beginning of things?
Through Tao."
-  Translated by Lionel Giles, 1905, Chapter 21 

"The features (yung) of the vast (k'ung) Te,
Follows entirely (wei) from Tao.
Tao as a thing,
Is entirely illusive (huang) and evasive (hu).
Evasive and illusive,
In it there is image (hsiang).
Illusive and evasive,
In it there is thinghood (wu).
Dark and dim,
In it there is life seed (ching).
Its life seed being very genuine (chen),
In it there is growth power (hsin).
As it is today, so it was in the days of old (ku),
Its name goes not away (ch'ü),
So that we may survey (yüeh) the origins of the many (chung fu).
How do I know that the origins of the many are such?
Because of this."
-  Translated by Ellen Marie Chen, 1989, Chapter 21

"For effective contrast, this chapter is best read together with chapter 14.  Both chapters call Tao, the illusive and evasive (hu-huang), i.e., the primal Chaos or Hun-tun described in chapter 25.  In chapter 14, Tao recedes and becomes the nothing; here in chapter 21 the same illusive and evasive Tao moves forward to become the realm of beings.  There Tao is nameless; here Tao is the name that never goes away.  There Tao is the formless form, the image of nothing; here Tao contains the seeds and images of all beings that are to be.  The dominant character of Tao in chapter 14 is wu, nothing; in this chapter it is yu, being or having.  The conclusion of chapter 14 traces Tao to the beginning of old; this chapter arrives at the realm of the many in the now."
-  Ellen M. Chen, The Tao Te Ching: A New Translation with Commentary, 1989, p.107

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 up to 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 22, 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

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Long Morning Walks

I enjoy walking in the early morning.  From 1998 to 2017 I walked on a country lane, Kilkenny Lane, directly in front of my home in Red Bluff, California.  This cul de sac lane is .32 miles from Highway 99W.  
Occasionally, a car might use this country lane, and I move to the side of the road.  It is a very safe, peaceful, and quiet place with lovely landscaping and dramatic views.

The photos show here were taken in November after a series of gentle rain storms.  

I try to walk every day from two to four miles in the morning; when I was not working for the Corning Union Elementary School District.  I walked on this road from June of 1998 until we moved to Vancouver, Washington, in April of 2017; nearly 19 years.  

"Putting facts by the thousands,
into the world, the toes take off
with an appealing squeak which the thumping heel
follows confidentially, the way men greet men.
Sometimes walking is just such elated
-   Lyn Hejinian, Determination

"Every day, in the morning or evening, or both, take a walk in a safe and peaceful environment for less than an hour.  The can be a great fountain of youth.  Choose a place to walk that has no kind of disturbance.   Walking done in a work environment and when your mind is busy is different; it is not as nutritious as the walking you do for yourself in the morning or evening in a quiet, peaceful, and safe place."
-  Master Hua-Ching Ni, Entering the Tao, 1997, p. 135

Looking to the northeast on Kilkenny Lane.  Mt. Lassen (10,000 feet) in the distance is capped with a little snow.  These photos were taken in late Autumn.    

"Walking is the natural recreation for a man who desires not absolutely to suppress his intellect but to turn it out to play for a season."
- Leslie Stephen

"Our philosophies must be rewritten to remove them from the domain of words and "ideas," and to plant their roots firmly in the earth."
- William Vogt

"If you look for the truth outside yourself,
It gets farther and farther away.
Today walking alone, I meet it everywhere I step.
It is the same as me, yet I am not it.
Only if you understand it in this way
Will you merge with the way things are."
- Tung-Shan


Looking west on Kilkenny Lane.  The red leafed autumn colors are from Raywood Ash trees. The Yolly Bolly mountain range (7,000 feet) is to the west of the North Sacramento Valley.

"The interior solitude, along with the steady rhythm of walking mile after mile, served as a catalyst for deeper awareness.  The solitude I found and savored on the Camino had an amazing effect on me.  The busyness of my life slowly settled down as the miles went on.  For a good portion of my life I had longed for a fuller experience of contemplation, that peaceful prayer of the heart in which one is able to look intently and see each piece of life as sacred.  Ten days into the journey, totally unforeseen, the grace of seeing the world with startling lucidity came to me.  My eyes took in everything with wonder.  The experience was like looking through the lens of an inner camera – my heart was the photographer.  Colors and shapes took on nuances and depths never before noticed.  Each piece of beauty appeared to be framed: weeds along roadsides, hillsides of harvested fields with yellow and green stripes, layers of mountains with lines of thick mist stretching along their middle section, clumps of ripe grapes on healthy green vines, red berries on bushes, roses and vegetable gardens.  Everything revealed itself as something marvelous to behold.  Each was a work of art.  I noticed more and more details of light and shadow, lines and edges, shapes, softness, and texture.  I easily observed missed details on the path before me – skinny worms, worn pebbles, tiny flowers of various colors and shapes, black beetles, snails, and fat, grey slugs.  I became aware of the texture of everything under my feet – stones, slate, gravel, cement, dirt, sand, grass.  I responded with wonder and amazement.  Like the poet Tagore, I felt that everything “harsh and dissonant in my life” was melting into “one sweet harmony”."
-  Joyce Rupp  

In Vancouver, Washington, where I live now in 2018, I walk on my suburban neighborhood streets and at local parks.  In the photo below, my dog, Bruno, and I are walking at the nearby Orchards Community Park.  

"As I went walking
That ribbon of highway
I saw above me
The endless skyway
I saw below me
The lonesome valley
This land was made for you and me."
- Woody Guthrie, This Land is Your Land