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#89196 - 02/08/05 02:31 PM Tao Te Ching
Anonymous
Unregistered


I've heard it said that, this ancient text, which is mostly about the philosophical tenets of taoism, contains subtle references to chi cultivation exercises and breathing practices....

I'd love to hear anybody else's opinion on what hidden kernel's of knowledge this may have...

for example, chapter 10, appears to include a reference to neo-natal (or the taoist breathing practice which is used in martial applications of chi)

the reason i ask is i had heard that things such as the ruler, the gates of heaven, and the ruler's kingdom were all external analogies that referred to anatomical parts in the body or perhaps chi meridians....i'd love to know more....

I dont speak chinese and only have translations to work from..i've included a link to the text in english if anyone is curious....

I considered the tao te ching a masterpiece simply for its philosophical tenets, but it would be truly amazing if there was yet another whole level of meaning to be gleaned from it...
http://www.truetao.org/laotzu/taote/

thanks,
Ed

PS: mr. butterfly palm sir, i'd love to hear a comment or two from you...

[This message has been edited by MrEd (edited 02-08-2005).]

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#89197 - 02/08/05 04:09 PM Re: Tao Te Ching
Anonymous
Unregistered


it has been my exsperience that the text is used more as a supplimental study to help clarify teachers sometimes esoteric statements. i still find things that my teacher has said or he says somthing that i have read in the toa te ching

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#89198 - 02/09/05 06:08 AM Re: Tao Te Ching
nenipp Offline
Veteran

Registered: 04/13/04
Posts: 1205
Hi MrEd, I think I need to read my copy of the Tao Te Ching (for something like the fifth or sixth time) before I come back and comment.
If I find something like you're suggesting, it will be new to me.
It wouldn't be the first time, however, that I find something in that book, that I can swear wasn't there last time I looked )

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#89199 - 02/10/05 01:30 PM Re: Tao Te Ching
Anonymous
Unregistered


(*bump*)

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#89200 - 02/12/05 10:45 AM Re: Tao Te Ching
Anonymous
Unregistered


Hello MrEd

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#89201 - 02/14/05 07:45 PM Re: Tao Te Ching
Anonymous
Unregistered


Hello MrEd.

Just got back from the Chinese New Year Holidays.

Trust you to come up with another big question and also a very old one, about 2500 years old; the book or rather an almost playful manual to answer the same old question -- 'what is the meaning of life?'.

For the last 2500 years people have found answers in that book for almost any question you care to ask,(it has 80 odd chapters I think) and martial artists were no exception.

It all depends on the level of maturity of the reader. Even if you read chinese, it doesn't help much as it is written in the archaic language of 2500 years ago. The words may appear the same, but the meaning and even the pronunciation attached to them may have been differently understood and sounded. And to read it in translated form? by translators 2500 years later and who may not have done any IMA?

Legend has it that even Confucius himself, a contemporary, consulted the author on some points.

And the author is such a mysterious person that almost nothing concrete is known, except that according to legend, his mother conceived him when she saw a falling star. UFOists may even conclude that his mother was an Alien abductee and experimented on, as he was supposed to have been in his mother's womb for years before being born, as an adult! -- a test-tube baby?

I need to catch up with some work right now and will come back soonest, and give my 2 cents worth.

Meanwhile how is your practice coming along?

[This message has been edited by ButterflyPalm (edited 02-14-2005).]

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#89202 - 02/15/05 02:37 PM Re: Tao Te Ching
Anonymous
Unregistered


I heard that too, and I went back to read it again in a qigong context.

My teacher, Dr Yang, Jwing-Ming describes the Tao Te Ching (The book of the Way and its Virtue) as a book of universal truths, and within many chapters, some of the writing pertains both to philosophy and to Qigong.

He quotes the book in his most recent qigong book 'Qigong Meditation'. It has motivated me to trace back the roots of qigong, Taoism, and the history of Buddhism's spread from India to China and the rest of the world.

I've read several different translations of the Tao Te Ching (including one by Alistair Crowley!), and I think you might be right: Lao Tzu was very likely a multi-dimentional being (but probably not an 'alien').

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#89203 - 02/15/05 04:41 PM Re: Tao Te Ching
Anonymous
Unregistered


Hi Butterfly Palm,

Interesting theories...I have to agree with your maturity point..i started reading the book when i was 16, and in the 10 years that have passed have gleaned new meaning each time, especially when i previously thought i understood!

as for the training, that is not faring quite so well, i have taken a sabbatical from it. While I love my teachers, the classes are structured so that all can learn (which includes out of shape people such as myself). After watching their movements carefully, I realized until i got into better shape i couldn't really concentrate or imitate them properly. I've spent this winter lifting and increasing my muscle mass, including tendons and connective tissues and have just started the stamina part of my program which includes distance running. If all goes well, I hope to feel light enough on my feet to begin practicing MA again in late summer.

As for as chi and meditative practice goes, i'm at a plateau, and need to dedicate additional time to practice to make any additional strides. on the bright side, i havent lost any of what i learned to do.

The only odd thing is occasionally throughout the day i'll find certain parts of my body feeling exceptionally warm or tingling. This unfortunately is probably due to the fact i undertook the qigong journey but due to my recent focus on external changes, I have not practiced qigong as regularly as i had previously, although lately i've been getting back into the exercise you gave me.

How are you? How is your training coming?

Regards,
Ed

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#89204 - 02/21/05 09:53 PM Re: Tao Te Ching
Anonymous
Unregistered


Hello MrEd.

Reaching a 'plateau?'

Yeah, that's the trouble with the IMA. That's why so few people ever reached high levels of proficiency. At a certain stage, you need to do twice as much to go half as far, unlike in the beginning stages where every new sensation is a new adventure. You need to make 'break-throughs' every now and then to keep yourself interested; which is why whenever I meet new entrants to the IMA family, I say to them, it takes a person of a certain character and temperament to go far in the IMA. I thought that the "little" exercise I gave will provide a minor break-through that you needed. Practice my friend, practice.

I am still giving some serious thoughts to the Tao Te Ching's (TTC)connection to the IMA. There was certainly this connection. In fact, people like Chang San Feng (if he existed) was supposed to have used the ideas found in Taoism together with the Yi Ching as a basis to formulate Tai Chi Chuan. The big question you are interested in is which part of the TTC he used. What we have to realise is that the idea of the TAO did not start with TTC. Lao Tze was articulating ideas which were already then part of the general cosmology of the time. The problem was of course he did not write the TTC with the IMA in mind. At that time, there probably was no such thing as the IMA.

I'll come back fully on this when my thoughts are more ordered. Meanwhile below is a poem I wrote on 27th June 1975 which if read by a non-IMA practitioner will be quite meaningless; but if read by a practitioner of IMA for some years? Well......


"The Moving Breath

Stand still, stand straight,
Stand firm, stand soft,
Stand tall, stand small.

Sink and rise,
Your breath in time,
Close your eyes, close your mind.

Move slow, move slow,
Move head, move toe,
Move waist, move whole.

Left to right, right to left,
Sway your body, sway the whole,
Open your elbows, open your soul.

Look where you go,
Go where you look,
Keep your shoulders soft,
Soft and slow.

Think of that,
Which is bad,
Think again,
You'll go mad.

Think of this,
Soft as mist,
Think hard,
You'll never start.

Think neither this nor that,
Think not of thinking,
Think not, nothing to think.

The fingers tingle,
The tingle rise,
The tingle move.

It moves on skin,
Your centre spin,
It moves around,
It sinks to the ground.

It speaks of knowledge,
Yet untold,
But a few have known,
Ages ago.

Some believe, some believe not,
They shall be told,
And told oft,
It's the Way of the gods"


Now you see the problem with the TTC and IMA. Try to formulate a chi gung exercise with that poem.

Got to do some work, will come back soon.




[This message has been edited by ButterflyPalm (edited 02-27-2005).]

[This message has been edited by ButterflyPalm (edited 02-27-2005).]

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#89205 - 02/22/05 12:39 PM Re: Tao Te Ching
Anonymous
Unregistered


I see your point. For disucssion's sake, i went ahead and attempted to formulate an exercise. My interpretation of your poem follows in bold italics.... [IMG]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/smile.gif[/IMG]


"The Moving Breathe

Stand still, stand straight,
Stand firm, stand soft,
Stand tall, stand small.

Begin by calmly allowing yourself to stand and relax. There is a dichotomy between opposite ends. You shouldn't strive to stand up too straight, or worry if your back isn't straight enough, but rather do what is natural, allowing the spine to adopt its natural curve.


Sink and rise,
Your breathe in time,
Close your eyes, close your mind.
as you relax in a standing position, become aware of your breathing of your abdomen and breath as they rise and fall with your diaphgram. You can close your eyes if it helps with concentration

Move slow, move slow,
Move head, move toe,
Move waist, move whole.
these movements refer to the internal visualization and direction of chi, perhaps in phases. The first phase is simply being able to direct chi, and can only be accomplished by not rushing, and patiently concentrating. Next, comes the ability to move chi through the conception vessel and along the circuit that circles the body front to back. Finally, all the chi moves as one consistent entity within the body. These are the phases and goals of the exercise

Left to right, right to left,
Sway your body, sway the whole,
Open your elbows, open your soul.
practice moving chi bidirectionally. as you attempt the later phases where the chi flows more wholistically, slightly jerk your body, and pay attention to the feeling of larger quanities and a less localized feeling of movent of the chi

Look where you go,
Go where you look,
Keep your shoulders soft,
Soft and slow.
awareness and visualization help when learning to move chi. the mind's intent (looking) sends the energy there (going). It is important to keep the shoulders relaxed and not contracted as this can interfere with the structual alignment and energy flow

Think of that,
Which is bad,
Think again,
You'll go mad.
it's very hard to tell if you are making progress or not. Such IMA exercises are tricky because of this. you might find yourself thinking you are making a mistake because you feel a new sensation, heat, or discomfort. then you reach a point where you mark this as actual progress. but you have to patiently keep doing the exercise, and not overanalyze the results. doing so will drive you crazy and make it too frustrating

Think of this,
Soft as mist,
Think hard,
You'll never start.


chi is a very subtle substance, one that comes naturally through repeated practice. if you try and think to hard or tense your muscles too much, you won't make any progress


Think neither this nor that,
Think not of thinking,
Think not, nothing to think.
simple repeated practice of the exercise is best, without tying oneself to an ultimate goal. thinking too hard, or exerting effort not to think, accomplish the same thing, namely lack of progress and frustration.

The fingers tingle,
The tingle rise,
The tingle move.
if you can concentrate simply on diong this exercise of visualization and moving chi without overanalyzing, these are the sensations you can experience. first it may come as a tingling in the fingers or feet, gradually the sensation will spread across the body, and the disconnected observing mind can follow or lead chi across the body.

It moves on skin,
Your centre spin,
It moves around,
It sinks to the ground.
more descriptions of how the chi can move at more advanced levels of practice

It speaks of knowledge,
Yet untold,
But a few have known,
Ages ago.
few people have the patience to acquire this ability, and science hasn't yet found a way to prove or disprove chi as a phenomenon. Those that have "known" did so through their experience and years of practice. Only a few "knew" because in order to "know" one has to put a huge amount of effort in. in a sense it is something that can be pointed at, but not directly tought because it relies so much on the concentration and dedication of the indivudal seeking the skill

Some believe, some believe not,
They shall be told,
And told oft,
It's the Way of the gods"
Those who don't understand what is and what isn't possible both in ancient and modern times either choose to completely disbelieve, or attribute it to some sort of magic/religious practice. The "practice" will continue to alude those who try to form opinions or desire IMA abilities for selfish reasons.

well, there was my interpretation.....interested in what you think.....

[This message has been edited by MrEd (edited 02-22-2005).]

[This message has been edited by MrEd (edited 02-22-2005).]

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#89206 - 02/22/05 07:55 PM Re: Tao Te Ching
Anonymous
Unregistered


MrEd.

You mean it actually makes sense to you? [IMG]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/smile.gif[/IMG]

Where were you in 1975. I could have taken lessons from you [IMG]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/smile.gif[/IMG]

I think the interpretation is better than the poem; you actually made me see something new in the poem. It was of course 30 years ago and the paper on which it was written (hand-written of course; word-processing, for me, was still 20 years away) has turned yellow.

My one great regret in life is not to have continued where I left off then; due to work pressure and other commitments. However about 7 seven years ago my doctor said I have 6 months to live, the big "C". Talking about sending chills (not chi) up your spine. The most frightening words in any language.

So I went back to it out of desparation. Its 7 years later now. I believe it is due to my foundation in chi gung and the IMA that is keeping me alive these past years.

As promised, more on TTC later.

Keep at it. Don't regret like me.

[This message has been edited by ButterflyPalm (edited 02-23-2005).]

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#89207 - 02/22/05 10:52 PM Re: Tao Te Ching
Anonymous
Unregistered


Holy crap you guys are smart. I should really pick this book up and try to understand it. Where could I get a copy of it? Can I just go out to a super crown or will I actually have to find the book on e bay or something?

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#89208 - 02/23/05 01:13 AM Re: Tao Te Ching
nenipp Offline
Veteran

Registered: 04/13/04
Posts: 1205
You can find a copy just about anywhere, but for us who don't speak or read chinese, the quality of interpretation and comments/footnotes is a big issue.
I would suggest consulting someone you trust and that has insight in these things and ask him/her to point out a good edition in a language you're comfortable with.

I think you'll find it was worth the trouble..

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#89209 - 02/23/05 01:45 AM Re: Tao Te Ching
Anonymous
Unregistered


would it be better for me to wait a while until i learn Chinese or should i just try reading a translated version of it now. i think mr ed could point me in the right direction of o good copy

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#89210 - 02/23/05 02:47 AM Re: Tao Te Ching
Bossman Offline
Veteran

Registered: 08/25/03
Posts: 1785
Loc: Chatham Kent UK
The TTC was the turning point in my life. In the early seventies I was an 'angry' karate nidan just wanting to fight the world. I knew that I had to change and started to attend tai chi classes I found them really frustrating and difficult but my sifu had patience with me. One day he gave me the TTC and suggested I read it, not having read a book in school let alone afterwards (I was in my twenties) I started to read and and had a direct understanding of the philosphy. I then started to read on zen, buddhism, all kinds of philosophy and continued my training in both arts (and others) to this day.

The TTC was without a doubt the turning point of my life and I still read it myself and to my students on a regular basis.

Butterfly: an insightful poem, do you mind if I put it on my website?

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#89211 - 02/23/05 05:55 AM Re: Tao Te Ching
Fisherman Offline
Veteran

Registered: 07/16/03
Posts: 1656
Loc: Colorado, USA
One of my favorite things about the TTC is that every time I read it, it shows me something new.
The further I get into Baguazhang the more the meanings within this book evolve.

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#89212 - 02/23/05 07:40 AM Re: Tao Te Ching
Anonymous
Unregistered


Hey guys, thanks for the insight....

Anybody care to share their favorite chapter, or the meaning they've acquired?

Saber, click on the link at the top of this thread, these are the translations from truetao.org, which, of all the differnt ones i've read, ive liked the best. those guys have studied for years, and have from what i can tell to be a strong command of the chinese language. They havent finished translating it completely, but they have about 3/4 of the chapter's translated, as well as additional stories and anecdotes.

For a good introduction, i suggest you read benjamin hoff's "The Tao of Pooh" which uses that silly bear to illustrate the principles quite nicely.

One chapter I really like is: Chapter 40
Using www.truetao.org's translation and interpretation:


The returning is the movement of the Tao
The weak is the utilization of the Tao
The myriad things of the world are born of being
Being is born of non-being


Their interpretation:

That which reverses course, reflects back, or returns to its point of origin characterizes the cyclical motions of the Tao. Because the Tao process underlies everything in existence, we observe its cycles reflected everywhere in the universe.

That which exhibits weakness, a soft touch, or a yielding nature characterizes the function and utilization of the Tao. This is because the Tao drives life forward endlessly, and the living is always pliant and flexible while death is invariably stiff and unyielding.

The above applies to the mind as well. An awareness that is in tune with the Tao is open to possibilities and adaptable to new ways of thinking. In contrast, a mind that stubbornly clings to preconceptions and automatically rejects anything different is, in a real sense, already dead.


This applies at least for me to the practice and movements of Tai Chi.


Saber, it may help to think of the Tao as the endless creative force that from our current perspective cannot be described. It may be enough to accept that there is Tao, and not try to analyze it. Lao Tzu even says in the very beginning of the book that "the Tao that can be descirbed is not the real Tao"

An example would be the cyclic nature of creation and destruction. One cannot exist without the other, and this is but one process of the Tao that drives evolution/existance forward. There are many others and they are all interelated, so Lao Tzu suggests appreciating the beauty of creation and going with the flow so to speak.

From a martial aspect, finding and becoming one with this "flow" is vital to many internal techniques.

I for one, havent even come close to "flowing" yet....

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#89213 - 02/23/05 03:06 PM Re: Tao Te Ching
Anonymous
Unregistered


wow thats really crazy that you recommend that book. My mom just bought it for me. She knows that I am into that whole destiny thing. I read a chapter or 2 but then I put it down. A week ago I found it and started reading it again. Weird right?

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#89214 - 02/24/05 08:45 AM Re: Tao Te Ching
Anonymous
Unregistered


ButterflyPalm:
I'm glad that you got well. Your presence here is appreciated.
Maybe that goes without saying, but anyway.

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#89215 - 02/24/05 09:27 AM Re: Tao Te Ching
Anonymous
Unregistered


Yeah, I second that....

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


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.

Bossman.

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]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/smile.gif[/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).]

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

Registered: 04/13/04
Posts: 1205
Hi ButterflyPalm,
do you really think Lao Tse would be upset [IMG]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/redface.gif[/IMG])

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


[QUOTE]Originally posted by nenipp:
Hi ButterflyPalm,
do you really think Lao Tse would be upset [IMG]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/redface.gif[/IMG])
[/QUOTE]


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?'

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

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?

regards,
nenippal

(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).]

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


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,
Ed

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


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 -- '...open 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.

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#89222 - 02/26/05 10:50 AM Re: Tao Te Ching
nenipp Offline
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Registered: 04/13/04
Posts: 1205
Quote:
"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)

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


Nenipp.

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]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/smile.gif[/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'

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

*bow*

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


[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!

*bow*
[/QUOTE]


Mien Li, Mien Li.

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#89226 - 02/28/05 03:55 PM Re: Tao Te Ching
Bossman Offline
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Registered: 08/25/03
Posts: 1785
Loc: Chatham Kent UK
Just got back from tai chi in the Czech Republic.. good to see the topic still going...

Butterfly Palms the link for your poem is: http://www.shikon.com/disp_art.asp?aid=A64654261733&typ=AG1004

Thank you.

I was given the translation by Jane English and Guang Feng and love the poetic way it's written along with the photographs and original text..

The genius of the book is that it can be read in so many ways and apply to almost everything in life.

Ma Lee Yeung (Yang Sau Chung's daughter) teaches a set of 'family' exercises that change with each 'layer' of the form and contain the internal skills within the techniques - these exercises helped me to understand the form immesuarably.

I'll try to write more tomorrow.

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#89227 - 02/28/05 06:22 PM Re: Tao Te Ching
Anonymous
Unregistered


Bossman.

Hope people will enjoy the poem and 'see' something in it to enhance their practice; especially beginners.

Waiting to hear more from you.

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#89228 - 02/28/05 06:34 PM Re: Tao Te Ching
Anonymous
Unregistered


Hi butterfly palm,

I took your suggestion and tried it....focusing on the ming men, or other acupoints on the back produce different sensations when leading energy to the dan tien then i expereienced previously. I used it as a "gate". Previously i focused on the shen center and dan tien simultaneously and lead the chi from top to bottom. With the ming men, i led all the energy to the ming men first, felt the tingling, and then led it down to the dan tien. I tried a few other points, there is a subtle difference depending on where you concentrate, but the overall affect is the same. Amazing!

Ed

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#89229 - 03/01/05 07:02 AM Re: Tao Te Ching
Bossman Offline
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Registered: 08/25/03
Posts: 1785
Loc: Chatham Kent UK
As I leaf through the yellowing pages of my 1972 TTC each verse can be read as a MA strategy and a strategy for life on so many levels. Each of the Yeung family exercises can be practised differently according to what is in your mind at the time, the TC form can be practised in so many different ways according to what is in your head and heart at the time. You may choose 'warrior', 'monk', 'sick' (drunken)or 'basic' - you may choose to accent 'snake', 'tiger', or 'crane' you can mix them up indefinitely according to the shades of your moods or what your body is 'asking' for at the time.

I prefer the intuitive to the analytical. I try not to think in words. I like the chinese way of allowing you to use your imagination and intuition. The ability to understand without having to explain means you learn faster, the method of direct transmission and 'chap sau' means that you simply experience directly. In Iaido the japanese call it 'Jikiden' but I had to introduce the idea into my Karate.

The understanding I felt I gained from the TTC was like this - I can translate the wisdom to suit the problem. The underlying ethos and principles contained within tai chi are also complete, you use what you need at the time, other parts can remain dormant until required.

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#89230 - 03/01/05 10:02 PM Re: Tao Te Ching
Anonymous
Unregistered


MrEd / Bossman.

I don't know whether Lao Tze will be happy or surprised or maybe both, seeing how his "manual for virtuous living" is used by people whose existence he couldn't possibly have known (unless he could astral travel to the future) and in such creative ways he never imagined, even for him!

Still he was at "fault" for writing in such broad, and to me, ambiguous terms; maybe it was not broad to him; just our own (my at least) lack of real understanding. Like Bossman says or to the effect, 'whatever is your thing'

Lao Tze must have been a great conversationalist. Legend has it that Confucius met him -- if only there was someone to take down notes.

Since you guys are at it, I'll just join in and dig something up for discussion later.

MrEd.

Something to think about. Do what you did at high speed. First between points near to each other and then between points farther apart. Don't worry about the meridians. If a train travels from town A to town B, it has to travel on tracks already laid out.

Its good to do some large muscle stretching and major joints loosening first.

See you guys later.

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#89231 - 03/02/05 02:20 AM Re: Tao Te Ching
Reiki Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 05/30/02
Posts: 3400
Loc: MiddleEarth
Some very interesting reading in here! [IMG]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/biggrin.gif[/IMG]

Its a great pity that my time at the moment is so limited and I do not get as much time to sit and read as many posts as I'd like to, particularly this type of post.

I particularly liked your poem butterfly palms, it reminded me of some of the work I've done with reiki using the hara circuit and the profound effects it had on myself and my patient as the ki flowed...

I'm going thru a sort of epiphany at the moment, looking at life and other things, so reading some of the TTC has been very insightful.

I particularly liked chapter 36:

If one wishes to shrink it
One must first expand it
If one wishes to weaken it
One must first strengthen it
If one wishes to discard it
One must first promote it
If one wishes to seize it
One must first give it
This is called subtle clarity
The soft and weak overcomes the tough and strong
Fish cannot leave the depths
The sharp instruments of the state
Cannot be shown to the people

Interpretation:
If we wish to reduce something, to make something smaller, we must first expand it. After it is stretched out, it will naturally shrink back down to size.

Similarly, if we wish to weaken something, we must first strengthen it. The seed of weakness invariably exists in the greatest of strengths.

In order for something to be discarded or abandoned, it is first promoted. The world is full of examples of things that are hyped up and then thrown away and forgotten without a second thought.

In order to get something, we must first give it. For instance, if we wish to be treated kindly, we must start by treating others with kindness. This works because the Tao process is circular; the principle underlying all interactions is one of dynamic, universal energy exchange.

We say that these illuminated insights are subtle, because they seem to be the very opposite of our habitual thought patterns. To understand them is to become enlightened in the subtle workings of the Tao.

That which is gentle, soft and weak seems to yield to that which possesses toughness, strength and aggressiveness, but the yielding is deceptive, for in the end the soft overcomes the hard.

It is the nature of the Tao to remain hidden. Just as the fish does not leave the depths and a country does not display its weapons and inner workings to the people, a sage remains deeply immersed in the Tao and does not utilize his or her insights against people who are more shallow.

-------

It all keeps coming back to energy
Humans are energy creatures
all matter is energy
all thought is energy

There is no such thing as co-incidence
All things happen for a reason
Just because we do not know the reason now, it doesn't mean that there is no reason.
Rather we should be like water and just flow

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#89232 - 03/02/05 05:00 AM Re: Tao Te Ching
Bossman Offline
Veteran

Registered: 08/25/03
Posts: 1785
Loc: Chatham Kent UK
Hi Jane!

My version says for chapter 36:
That which shrinks
Must first expand.
That which fails
Must first be strong.
That which is cast down
Must first be raised.
Before receiving
There must be giving.

This is called perception of the nature of things.
Soft and weak overcome the hard and strong.

Fish cannot leave deep waters,
And a country's weapons should not be displayed.


This could also be viewed as the opponent must physically and mentally expand to be shrunk and become strong to attack and fail, for him to be felled, his chi must first be raised, he has to give energy out to receive it (skilfully) back.

Thus the soft and the weak overcome the hard and strong with these principles.

So called 'strong' people normally need a lot of support (fish cannot leave deep waters) and a strong display of weaponary will raise fear and cause strategic opposition from others. (look at USA China North Korea Iraq etc).

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#89233 - 03/02/05 02:28 PM Re: Tao Te Ching
Reiki Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 05/30/02
Posts: 3400
Loc: MiddleEarth
[IMG]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/wink.gif[/IMG] thanks Steve!

I'm definitely going to get a copy of the TTC now so I can study it further because it is ringing large bells with me.

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#89234 - 03/02/05 04:36 PM Re: Tao Te Ching
Reiki Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 05/30/02
Posts: 3400
Loc: MiddleEarth
bump

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#89235 - 03/03/05 07:26 AM Re: Tao Te Ching
Bossman Offline
Veteran

Registered: 08/25/03
Posts: 1785
Loc: Chatham Kent UK
This is my 'bump'..

The wise therefore rule by emptying hearts and stuffing bellies,
by weakening ambitions and strengthening bones.
If people lack knowledge and desire,
then intellectuals will not try to interfere.
If nothing is done, all is well.

Just different ways to view this:
emptying hearts and stuffing bellies - using the conception vessel meridian properly and draining chi to the dantien centres you. As does weakening ambitions (by draining the chi and letting it 'sit' in your bones) and strengthening bones.

Not seeking intellectual knowledge or desiring to 'be' something you learn faster by intuition and working in the 'wordless mind' intellectuals will NEVER understand how that works.

'Doing nothin' is doing something, the classics say in activity there should be inactivity and in inactivity there should be activity' - not to make a decision unless you have to often makes life run more smoothly. Doing nothing can often be an excellent strategy.

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#89236 - 03/03/05 02:40 PM Re: Tao Te Ching
Anonymous
Unregistered


ok
section one ............wuji...........begin

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