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#89216 - 02/24/05 09:21 PM Re: Tao Te Ching

Sleepy / MrEd.

Thanks for the kind thoughts; it means alot to people like me who celebrating each birthday is truly, truly a happy birthday.
You really know what 'happy' means.


Sorry for this late reply. Just got back from out of town.

We are of the same age and what you said seems to parallel my own 70s experience; when Bruce Lee was all the rage and I remember thinking then this guy is either a genius (after reading a Black Belt magazine article on him) or someone who is just playing to the western MA gallery. There was alot of heated discussions among the chinese MA community on him and his 'disagreements' with traditional MA methods. The conclusion was he havent' really learned enough to come to the conclusion that he did.

I am not at all surprised that you found, in the beginning, Tai Chi Chuan 'frustrating & difficult' The proper sequence should be to acquire awareness of the circulating of the chi in the body BEFORE attempting to do any tai chi 'kata' This because the movement of the chi itself 'assists, enhance and propel' the performance of the kata. The reasons, I think, why the proper sequence was and still is seldom taught are either the instructor does not know or, if he does, to hold back for as long as he sees fit what is really the core of the system, without which the tai chi kata is merely slow and often clumsy dancing.

I am indeed honoured that you see enough merit in the poem to put it on a Website. Please feel free to do so (I have always dreamed of being a published author [IMG][/IMG])

Coming back to the TTC,yes,it is certainly a book which changed a lot of lives; a famous e.g. was of course Chang San Feng himself (by the way, not claiming any relation, my mother shared the same surname)
And also all those taoist hermits spending decades meditating in isolated caves hoping to attain immortality. So far it is claimed that 7 men and 1 woman succeeded (the 8 Immortals) question is where are they now? Imagine one of them conducting a seminar now!

Lao Tze (not his real name) did not give any interview because he rode out of town on an ox after completing the TTC and was never seen again.

So anyone is free to interpret his work and we have 2500 years of interpretation; the thing now is westerners, with ideas which Lao Tze himself may have problems with are interpreting it; and to do so from the IMA point of view? Wow! But one thing seems clear; Chang San Feng appeared to have succeeded, so why not us, you may ask, or rather MrEd asked. Still thinking hard on this; wouldn't want Lao Tze in his heavenly abode to get all upset while sipping some wine with fellow immortals. Ancient chinese history (and the Hong Kong movie industry) has potrayed some of the immortals being bordering on alcoholism.

[This message has been edited by ButterflyPalm (edited 02-24-2005).]

#89217 - 02/24/05 11:01 PM Re: Tao Te Ching
nenipp Offline

Registered: 04/13/04
Posts: 1205
Hi ButterflyPalm,
do you really think Lao Tse would be upset [IMG][/IMG])

#89218 - 02/24/05 11:56 PM Re: Tao Te Ching

[QUOTE]Originally posted by nenipp:
Hi ButterflyPalm,
do you really think Lao Tse would be upset [IMG][/IMG])

Believe it or not, I seriously think so.

You see, the title Tao Te Ching, can be broken down to 'Tao' meaning a method, a way to achieve an end; 'Te' can generally mean goodness, morality, virtue etc. in the conduct of one's life; and 'Ching' is just a general term for a 'manual' or something written down, as we would say 'a book' So it is a book about morality and virtues and how to attain it.

Being a book, a manual, a 'Way' the understanding and practice of which will lead one to attain virtues in one's life and hopefully to let it filter down the chain of human existence to bring about an evolution of a Jungian collective unconscious.

Lao Tze was pretty serious about how one should behave to attain this level of morality; to rise above the human condition as he saw it. So the book asked more questions than giving answers -- the frustrating part.

Now to misinterpret what he meant and say he was, in some parts, actually giving veiled and hidden instructions on acquiring some superhuman energy / power with which one can apply to MA for combat purposes would go against the whole tenure of his teachings. If there is an afterlife and we all can, one day, finally meet him? think of the earful we'll get. Of course we can 'escape' by saying, well, being able to stop a fight before it starts by the sheer power of ones' superior display of inner energy is a virtue in itself. You'll be lucky if he ask, with a sarcastic lift of an eyebrow -- 'Can you let go of the false knowledge gained through rationalization and intellectual sophistry?'

#89219 - 02/25/05 01:35 AM Re: Tao Te Ching
nenipp Offline

Registered: 04/13/04
Posts: 1205
Hi ButterflyPalm,

if you put it that way I agree that what you described goes against Tao, but that was not what I meant with my question.
(btw, I forgot to disable smilies, it was supposed to look like this )

What I meant was: given Lao Tse's gentle way of guiding, and the effortless way he seems to move in harmony; do you really think he'd be UPSET?


(edited to insert : )

[This message has been edited by nenipp (edited 02-25-2005).]

(edited again to disable smilies, which somehow got undisabled on my previous edition)

[This message has been edited by nenipp (edited 02-25-2005).]

#89220 - 02/25/05 07:38 AM Re: Tao Te Ching

ButterflyPalm and all,

In light of this thread, i am inclined to change my position. I think the questions that the tao te jing asks are very introspective and asking the self such questions may lead to answers in the IMA, but to other fields as well.

I see the principles posed by the questions as very applicable to IMA. That being said, i still feel it is worthwhile to examine the text with that context (and would like to hear other people's favorite chapter, or how they've applied it)

However, i am starting to see more clearly that it simply wasn't written for that purpose.

I think this is a very familliar pattern (and very useful tool) in life, and have used it in business. The idea of "benchmarking" or comparing two seemingly differnt concepts together.

After all, isnt that what the old masters did when they developed their kung fu from watching animals?

For MattJ, Shonuff, and the other physics guys on that thread, there is a book called "The Tao of Physics" which applies taoist principles to the physics of the universe.

But i suppose it doesnt end with taoism. There are plenty of books of all religions that seek to explain how the principles of that religion can aid one in better doing a specific task.

I just happen to feel that the tenets of taoism mesh very nicely with the relaxation, yielding, and awareness necessary for IMA.

hoping this thread doesnt die quite yet,

#89221 - 02/25/05 10:33 PM Re: Tao Te Ching

Hi MrEd.

Looks like your question, even if modified, is too big for most people. Lao Tze, in my view, was the first hippy of the 60s genre. He was 2500 years ahead of his time. These people are free spirits; trying to pin them down on anything is like stepping out of an airplane and onto a solid-looking cloud.

However, I'll try to continue your train of thought.

If we start off with the concept that the whole universe and all things in it is merely an expression of a single 'creative universal energy' whatever this might be, then it is at all possible that, whether in the context of Taoism or other philosophical teachings, one can (some people did and still do) apply them in a practical way to every area of human activity (MA included) We are what we are because the universe is like that, and so we can do what we like with it, and can never be wrong.

So the general principles found in the TTC can be applied in all and any area of human activity.

Going back to your original question (which has, I am sure, engaged the minds of countless martial artists through the ages) and running the risk of up-setting the Old Fellow, Lao Tze, my humble opinion is that though there is no specific IMA technique found in the TTC as such, one can very credibly apply some of the almost concrete-looking principles to 'tap' into a kind of 'energy' which is implied in some places of the TTC.

The idea is that if you have acquired this energy, you become in some way 'superior' and can go on to cultivate your 'virtues' (Lao Tze's meaning may be more practical than just being morally good) to a high enough degree so as to ascend to the level of the immortals or the gods (in the sense of a superior being) That is, just being 'good' is not enough; you need specific physical exercises of an energetic nature to attain these 'virtues' You need 'self-cultivation'; so some people take this to mean meditating in and with nature and become one with it.

In our case, probably apply it to our IMA; like what Chang San Feng did.

The fundamental problem is that things like bio-electrical systems of the human body were alien to people during Lao Tze's time and so all forces of nature took on a mystical / religious undertones; after all any thing that has 'power' must be of the gods.

Remember my poem -- ' your soul?' If one feels a disembodied energetic movement in the body and not knowing what exactly it is, one might rightly assume it is the 'soul' moving about inside the body. The next logical step is to 'release' this soul and bring it out of the body. What happens after that is of course to live the life of an immortal having conscious control over the immortal soul.

The question is the big HOW?

The chapter 10 you pointed out sounds promising. On a practical level it does look to me like breathing through the 'ming men' acupoint, though not mentioned specifically. 'Ming' means life, and 'men' means door or gate (door of life) This door or gate has old meanings like passing through a kind of 'portal' to some place else. As Chapter 10 said "tian men" or 'heavenly gate / door'

If they named it, 'ming men' -- the 'door / gate of life' they must have their reasons; like 'yung chuan' -- bubbling spring, where it actually feels like that when you can 'breath' your chi down to your heels.

I do 'ming men' breathing as part of my regime of long-term self-cultivation. Hope to see some results on my 60th year. If this thread is still on by then, a better answer to your question, I hope.

Just some information of interest on 'ming men' breathing. On the in-breathe, you certainly feel your chi go from the ming men point and exiting at your navel; it is reversed on the out-breathe. On the in-breathe and on the chi exiting at the navel, a balloon of chi is felt to have extended, in my case, about a foot from the navel -- a 'chi-ball' at the navel.

As a matter of interest, and running the risk of having all the 'chi-ball kids' asking for instructions, one can create chi-balls with other parts of the body besides the palms (a fundamental exercise) e.g. between the thumb & index finger of one hand (good for while watching TV) or one can, after getting the chi-ball with two palms, simply remove one palm and maintain the 'ball' with only one palm.

I'll stop here; will say more on your question later.

#89222 - 02/26/05 10:50 AM Re: Tao Te Ching
nenipp Offline

Registered: 04/13/04
Posts: 1205
"If they named it, 'ming men' -- the 'door / gate of life' they must have their reasons; like 'yung chuan' -- bubbling spring, where it actually feels like that when you can 'breath' your chi down to your heels."

I've been thaught that (one of) the function(s) of the Ming Men is to charge Dan Tien with qi (and for myself figured, also to have access to/take out qi from Dan Tien?).

If that's the case and Dan Tien is the place where "life" (qi) is stored, couldn't that explain why it's called the gate of life?

Or I could be out on my own again on thin ice ) I'll check with my teacher when I get the chance (april) but if someone cares to comment I'd be happy (even if you prove me wrong)

#89223 - 02/27/05 09:25 PM Re: Tao Te Ching


Well, I've since given up long ago to stick doggedly to any one position when it comes to this area of energy cultivation. My own ideas have changed countless times as I progressed over the years. Things look different at different levels of attainment.

Asking 10 people will get 10 answers, simply because all 10 have different levels of progress / attainment and these include the 'masters' themselves. Which is why almost every one who 'cultivate' anything, whether in the EMA or IMA, will eventually come up with his own way of doing things and start a 'new' system because at a certain level there will be no more 'masters' to depend on; you are on your own.

Coming back to your 'gate of life', some people will consider the 'ming tang' or 'bai hui' acupoint more appropriate as 'portals', whether it is for 'coming or going' At very high levels, I suppose it does not really matter, because if it does matter, then this restriction itself is the determinant of one's own level of attainment.

Anyway, thanks for your trouble.

Coming back to whether Lao Tze will be up-set. Yeah, your idea of him being a jolly old guy having not a care in the world and let every thing takes its natural course in perfect harmony with nature does conjure up someone who considers getting angry or up-set is a sheer waste of cosmic time and cultivable energy [IMG][/IMG]

Try meditating on the usual acupoints one by one and see what effect each has and you will see what I mean; even then your perception will change as you progress.

So asking your master will only provide one point of view at one level of attainment. Even Lao Tze himself is providing only a point of view from his level of attainment at the time he wrote the TTC. If he had continued his own cultivation after the TTC, I am sure the sequel will have some new ideas; remember, 'change is the universal constant'

#89224 - 02/28/05 12:25 AM Re: Tao Te Ching
nenipp Offline

Registered: 04/13/04
Posts: 1205
Hey, thank you ButterflyPalm,

I think I understand at least some of what you're saying here and I consider it a very valuable lesson!


#89225 - 02/28/05 01:03 AM Re: Tao Te Ching

[QUOTE]Originally posted by nenipp:
Hey, thank you ButterflyPalm,

I think I understand at least some of what you're saying here and I consider it a very valuable lesson!


Mien Li, Mien Li.

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