Miro

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  1. Chuang Tzu Chapter 1, Section B

    ChiDragon, you are of course right, this is a famous story, however, there is very slight angle of view in ZZ's story. Historical story is about Yao and his noble act, while story ZZ descibes here is about Xun (not about Yao). Therefore, I think, these are two different stories, or perhaps better - one story with two different points. ZZ does not care about noble act of Yao (because of principles no self, no merit, no fame - in next chapters we will see that according to him, even to live in the mud like tortoise is better than work for government etc.), the point of ZZ's story is that Xun refused work for goverment, or perhaps more precisely: to take his job, to take a job of any other man - and we can only guess why: because his own (internal) work is more important? That is why this story belongs to story about Rongzi and Liezi, because Xun belongs to them. From there we can go back to beginning of 1st chapter, namely story about Kun and Peng. I can not be sure, of course, and I have to say frankly that I do not know how to interpret this story (that is why I did not wrote my interpretation in that particular A section), however, I really think (well, guess) that the only interpretation which is somehow related to the rest of first chapter is that Kun and Peng story describes vastness and limitlessness of human being. In my interpretation ZZ wants to say something like that: 1. Man has no limitations, he is limitless. 2. Something huge and perhaps limitless is in every man - ZZ calls it Kun. ZZ says it lies on the north (north is down in ancient Chinese topography), therefore (I guess, again) on the bottom side of his body. 3. It can change into something else, still huge or limitless, what he calls Peng and then it can fly to south (to the up of the map - or perhaps to the up of the body). 4. ZZ knows how to fly to the south and what follows, is the description of the process. 5. Small creatures laugh at all this (exactly like Laozi described in DDJ). ZZ shows their arguments, for example: "he who goes to a distance of 100 li will have to pound his grain where he stops for the night; he who goes a thousand li, will have to carry with him provisions for three months." This argumentation is of course wrong, because small creatures do not know that Peng during his flight does not need to eat, drink, sleep etc. so ZZ logically asks: "What should these two small creatures know about the matter?" etc. 6. On the other hands, there are longevity creatures but longevity itself is not the aim, that is why trying to emulate Peng is pathetic according to ZZ. What is really important, is this limitlessness beyond limitlessness. (I left out some further smaller points, sorry, this just a main idea of the A and B section of 1st chapter.) And now ZZ goes in this C section (of Marblehead's translation - he describes those who live in limitlessness - like the description of Immortal from Gu Ye (obviously a great Shaman). He could even mould and fashion kings like Yao and Shun but he did not care about them and it is obvious why - because similar man does not occupy himself with things (like that). And when Yao visited those immortals at Gu Ye, he decided to abdicate, because he was not able to see his throne and his kingdom anymore (because he saw something else, something Xun exactly wanted more than Yao's throne). What is it what Yao and Xun wanted (more than throne and country)? Limitlessness of immortals from Gu Ye, spirituality, practice. Throne is useless - and then the stories about great things and useless things follow. Great things (we are still talking aboul limitlessness here) can not be changed and divided into small things - see stories about cabalash, bleaching. They need to be used in great scope by great men. These men do not want use things, they accept practical uselessness of great things. That is more-less about the first chapter of ZZ. It is just an introduction - things will be more interesting later. Miro
  2. Thanks, wish you all the best too.

    Miro

  3. Hi Miro,

    I like your comments on Zhuangzi's.

    May the remainder of the weekend be well for you.

    XJ

  4. Chuang Tzu Chapter 1, Section B

    Oh, no. The whole book is description of his spiritual practice and intuitive understanding coming from this practice... Sorry, but no philosopher can discover that breathing is done from the heel, every practitioner knows it by practical experience. Etc. ZZ certainly dabbled in Shamanism, it will be obvious in next chapters, he belonged into lineage of school or into lineage at least several generations of transmission between teacher and student and I do not think that transmission was just a philosophical talking. Miro
  5. Chuang Tzu Chapter 1, Section B

    Xiejia asked: Both were practitioners who refused to work for gevernment (an extreme position in China, at least after Confucius) because they were immersed in internal things. We can say Rongzi was something like beginner level, Liezi advanced level and there is also immortals level. Rongzi was fully focused on his internal work but ZZ says he stopped there, he still did not planted himself firmly enough (obviously ZZ knew better). Liezi was more advanced, he was able to ride on the wind of Heaven and Earth, but his work still was not finished, he still had to wait for something (and ZZ of course knew what). Only Perfect man, Spirit-like man and Sagely-minded man have these 3 characteristics: 1. no self 2. no merit 3. no fame Yao wanted to pass his throne to Xun because he thoght Xun is better. Xun refused because Yao was good enough and if he takes throne, it would be considered only because of fame which is just an illusion and not worth of doing so. In other words, Xun refused because of no self, no merit, no fame. Because it does not make sense to change what works good enough (under Yao), exactly like bird needs only one branch to nest and not many or the best or strongest branch. Xun and Yao as well as Rongzi and Liezi, all displayed (in the different situations and on the different levels) the qualities of no self, no merit, no fame. Miro
  6. Meditation

    To meditate on something means to take something as object of your meditation. That does not mean thinking or contemplating the particular object, just to choose him as object where to put your intention, to focus your mind, concentrate on it and take it into deeper levels of your being or existence.
  7. Meditation

    Meditation is related to several more or less related mental activities: 1. Intention means focusing the mind on particular object - for our normal life activity we have short-time intention (to look at something) or long-time intention (wish to learn Chinese). 2. Concentration means having focused mind on particular object - for example I can concentrate on particular point or place of my body (watching small areas of nostrils when breath is coming in and going out of nostrils) or at external object (flower or picture or point on the opposite wall), the aim is just to focus mind on particular object and nothing more. 3. Thinking means logical and systematical construction of thought about particular object. 4. Contemplation means to let the mind freely wander around the particular object - it is not thinking because it is not active process, it is rather "letting the object to tell us something", for example: "this flower - green leaves - rounded blades - obvious veins (on the leaf) - fragrant - yellow colour - feeling of beauty" etc. but the mind is always kept on the object, it can not depart like "this flower - green leaves- rounded blades - obvious veins (on the leaf) - fragrant - my girlfriend is fragrant too - I love her" etc. 5. Meditation means deeper stages of concentration. Because it contains concentration in its beginning (meditation does not mean empty sitting), it requires effort, strength, tension. However, this effort or strength or tension has to be balanced by relaxation of the body and mind. Therefore meditation is balance of effort (yang) and relaxation (yin). And the most difficult part is to find out where is and keep the correct line between them - too much strength (yang) causes pain, too much relaxation (yin) causes drowsiness and sleepy states... If they are in harmony, practitioner slowly enters deeper states of this harmony - eyes, ears and other senses turns inward, the small breaks of concentrations disappear, practitioner feels something like the world around him ceases, space around him becomes heavy, thick, dense, solid, there exists only object and nothing more. That is where meditation begins, new students usually can not reach that absorption or condensed state of being for a long time (and experienced teacher can see it on their students) but with practice theuy slowly get into it. Still, the normal people usually need around 40 minutes to quiet their body and mind to get into this beginning of meditation. With longer period of practice the students shortens the time necessary to reach this absorption (= entering the meditation) and after long time they can enter it immediately, anywhere, anytime, they just "turn off" their being... Then the more deep states and work come (first feeling the happiness and joy, then eternal bliss, space and cosmos or going out etc. - but also really important thing which is the understanding of necessity to work on oneself in more advanced levels)... That is just views or ideas based on my personal experience, feel free to take what is suitable or change it appropriately to your understanding. Miro
  8. Internal Martial Arts Classics

    Hi Steve, I thought you are talking about the name of taijiquan and disagreeing with common translation. It is good to know that our understanding is not far removed, I can agree with you now. Best wishes Miro
  9. I loved Zhuangzi + Questions

    Hi, Zhuangzi is one of my favourite Chinese writers (years ago I did read him in original Chinese). However, he is not philosopher in my view - philosophy usually comes to us as a result of speculative thinking or as a result of life practice (although nowadays it is a rare thing). You can find many examples of his deep spiritual practice thourough the book. And because no philosopher can discover that breathing is done from the heel etc., therefore I call him simply practitioner. So feel free to consider him philosopher, of course, just do not forget where his philosophy comes from, please. With regards to fancy clothes and ritual, well, it is called tradition. Did you ever teach people? If yes, you should know that if you will speak anything more than common, most people will not understand you. So you have to give them things in a way they can understand. Some people need the most basic interactions, some people can use advanced... Some people need fancly clothing, others are satisfied with rags... Unfortunately, most intelligent people (especially Westerners) have tendency look down at those simple things like rituals, prostrations, meditations. They think these are something less than philosophy. They are wrong. There is a great difference between understanding by mind and understanding by heart - and when Taoism and Buddhism talk about pure understanding, clear mind etc., they always mean understanding by heart, not by mind. Without that (often boring) ritual and tradition, there is no real understanding, just the floating superficial mind. In other words, that philosophical foundation (you speak about above) is based on the ritual and tradition (you dislike), philosophy is based on personal practice. I am saying that without that you will never fully understand Zhuangzi. I think if you read it just by your mind or brain, if you take it as philosophy, you miss the most important points of his book - a personal practice of his life. Miro
  10. Internal Martial Arts Classics

    I am very sorry to say it so frankly, but that is your wishful thinking... Taiji is indeed "Supreme Ultimate" because original meaning of Chinese character "taiji" is highest beam (horizontal piece of wood) in the roof of the house ("tai" means fartest or highest one, "ji" means beam). Moreover, taiji is the cosmological term - the cosmological chronology of creation goes from "chaos" (hundun) or "without limit" (wuji) to "supreme ultimate" or "beginning of creation" (taiji) to "dual polarity" or yin-yang (liangyi) and then either to four patterns (sixiang) to eight trigrams (bagua) etc... or to three (or five etc.) and then to ten thousand things... To be precise, taiji quan should be called liangyi quan (yin-yang fist) because it works with changes of yin and yang. But it is called taiji quan because the ideal of taiji quan is to reach the state of singularity with yourself (so that there will not be your right and left arm, or empty and full, or you and the world around you, or you and your opponent), that means to reach the state of taiji. Therefore the translation "Supreme Ultimate" is correct and accurate translation of original Chinese meaning. Yin Yang Fist is called Liangyi quan in Chinese martial arts. Liang means two, yi means polarity or "fish" of yin or yang. Taiji quan is Fist of Supreme Ultimate, Fist of Ultimate Principle, Fist of Beginning of the World, Fist of Everything (if you wish to understand it that way). Why to make "possibly erroneus opinions", and especially about things you are not familiar with or even do not understand? Is not it better just to ask? Anyway, it is not my business, wish you all the best. Miro