shazi

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  1. The Seven Sages of Bamboo Grove

    In my impression, the hedonism was symbolic more than anything. The seven worthies represented a departure from prevailing prescriptive beliefs coming from any system, including its own. One looks into the Zhuangzi as edited by guoxiang and one gets the impression of a very eclectic lifestyle and set of practices. In that vein, if we are to think that taoism is a single, cohesive system of practice and thought...well, I'm pretty sure it isn't. Not at least as developed into the xuanxue movement, later to influence zen buddhism. Xuanxue was the 'dark learning' of the seven worthies. If we go back to the jixia or huanglao periods of daoism, the period of time where the breathing and inner cultivation practices are clearly documented, there seems to be more of a discipline, a need to cultivate oneself, to center oneself, physically, spiritually, mentally, emotionally. Such discipline is missing from xuanxue. I especially like your comment about not needing role models. I've been disappointed ultimately with any 'master', daoist, zen, hindu, or otherwise. While they may have some very good wisdom and practice, at some point, the student outgrows the master -- not in a Way of arrogance, but that the Way for each person varies like the flow of a river. One must find one's own center, one's own practice, and cultivate it. I realize that this is controversial. But the Neiye opened my mind to the idea that the sage/shengren is not an external entity, but rather, the one who has harvested and cultivated chi/xing within one's own 'center'/zhong/中. English doesn't quite have a word for this.
  2. I think you are right... There are the daoist debaters today and in ancient times that seemed to take a hardline stance against ritual, at least, but the same loved poetry, song, and of course wine. Much of the editing of zhuangzi occurred in the period of the seven worthies of the bamboo grove. Irony was always part of the bandying about of poems and texts, until the moment of qingtan-- pure conversation (without words) was achieved. I personally love the syncretist movements of the jixia and huanglao. These found the right balance for personal, inner cultivation amongst the writings of Lao, zhuang, and kongzi, finding the common thread. Kongzi's zhongyong (Confucius doctrine of the mean) in it's core is a text on centering (中). The challenge with kongzi, though, is that is followers saw the middle path being achieved through discipline, propriety, and education, and not through the more esoteric and physical practice more commonly found in daoist traditions. Later Confucianism completely rejected the daoist techniques. Fortunately though, the traditions and techniques were kept on for thousands of years, many times secretly. One could dismiss them as folklore, if it weren't for texts like the guanzi (neiye), huainanzi, and original wenzi; along with other texts uncovered in the past half century. The validity of inner cultivation, its very essence, seems to be relatively unchanged for 2500 years. It's good to see a modern restoration and interest in this vital practice.
  3. In my translation, I called this "Stabilizing your nature". My translation differs a bit, based upon the chinese. As well, my translation may lend better support to your (manitou's) concept of how the physical balance and alignment affects the mental/emotional/spiritual. I don't see in the text any support for 'vitality'/de 德. The text only includes 凡人之生也, "fan ren zhi shang ye" - literally "all human 's life as-for". I'm following hendrick's interpretation of the grammatical particle 'ye' when following text, 'as for'. in the second line, 必以平正 "bi yi ping zheng" is a bit less straight forward: bi is 'must' and 'inevitable' is synonymous, but ye is a causal link, i used 'flows', more interpretive than 'occurs', but I would think that both are supported. ping-zheng is pretty consistently translated balance and alignment. Breathing is not expressed or supported by the context. If we were talking about de/vitality, then perhaps the topic of breathing might be implied. But 'de' is not in the text. going back to chapter 1 where jing/essence is the source of life, this chapter is talking about the sustaining of life, not breathing or vitality. balance and alignment are universal principles in the neiye. going on from my translation, this closely parallels the zhong yong of confucius - the 'doctrine of the mean', or my way of saying it, 'on being centered'. The basic principle of zhong according to confucius is that extremes of emotion, love, anger, worry, etc., cause the person to be out of balance and alignment. once the mean/zhong/center is attained, then the person, aligned, can operate in harmony with dao. (confucius' words). If the origin of the neiye/guanzi is the jixia academy, then this passage is easily explained by the syncretic movement in the jixia that combined fajia/legalism, rujia/confucianism, and daojia/daoism. I see no issue with this, but many daoists are surprised that the three schools prior to the qin often mixed their thinking. Strict rejection of rujia by daojia may more be an artifact of when the han emperor wudi instituted rujia in place of the huanglao daojia of his grandmother empress dou. This is particularly evident in the following phrases: I cannot think of anything more antithetical to zhuang-lao thinking than any reverence at all for poetry, music, and especially ritual and reverence. Such things were 'fei-dao' - distinctly not dao. hence my title, "stabilizing your nature". so where does this take me personally? breathing is certainly one aspect of balance and alignment, but so also is the physical movement of taijiquan. Balance becomes part of every aspect of dao, comprehensively in terms of yin and yang, of qi & breathing, and in the very movement of dao toward return. from a holistic standpoint, the neiye is concerned with all aspects of balance, not just the breathing, but also the reification of the mind with in a mind, and eating, etc. It's an amazing work.
  4. New but old, and maybe not new.

    greetings. I was trying to find my translation of neiye online, and lo! it was here on taobums. (search on 'shazi neiye' and you'll get the link). then I found out I had an account with four posts back in 2007. hence my topic here. I'm new because of not having posted here much. I'm old, because, well, it's something that happens. I'm maybe not new, because my account here dates back to 2007, and i've been around in daoist groups since the early-mid 90s. my name, shazi daoren, is what i call myself in publishing daoist things. shazi means 'fool', or simpleton, because, well, it fits in a way. and daoren means daoist, or I prefer to say, 'wayfarer' - one who [tries to] walk along the way. i probably know some of you, and some of you probably know me. but we're all just wayfarers, aren't we? cheers!
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  6. One Two Three

    Cleary should be taken fairly seriously. I have spent a lot of time comparing his translations to the original chinese, and he is accurate and reflects a deep understanding of daojia. in my previous post, wuji representing the one is undifferentiated form. 'substance' may well be a good way to put that, but it is undifferentiated. i am initially troubled with the word 'function', but given the statement 'not beyond yin and yang' and that their function leads to the creation/evolution stage of three, it makes sense. that the third stage creation/evolution produces all things equates to other definitions of taiji. it's a very good quote. thanks! -shazi
  7. nihao daoren

    sean, seems like you have a very active group here. Congratulations. -shazi
  8. One Two Three

    dao shang yi - dao gives birth to one in most ancient interpretations, whether in wenzi or elsewhere, this giving birth to 'one' is the concept of wuji - that which is without limit: undifferentiated form. yi shang er - one gives birth to two it's hard to argue against this 'two' referring to what we was later always called yin and yang; it even mentions yin and yang later in the verse. the challenge is that 'yin' and 'yang' didn't have as prevalent of a concept until into the han dynasty, after the verse was written. yet there is strong evidence of the dualism of forms, as in chapter 2, was part of the original concepts of daojia, and certainly 'yin' and 'yang' were one of these. This 'dualism' of forms, the separation of this and that, is what happens when dao digresses into wan wu/the myriad things. er shang san - two gives birth to three there is a lot of controversy over this phrase. zhuangzi simply shows in one place that once there's two, there's an ongoing arithmetic progression of three, etc. further, in modern chinese, san/three in this context simply means 'many'. hence, to one school, san/three has no special significance, other than the progression to wanwu/myriad things. on the other hand, san to some means the unification of the yin/yang duals = taiji/the supreme ultimate. in chapter two, the 'mutual production' of duals returns back to dao. the unification of duals, the taiji, is oneness, yet still having the disversity of the duals present, the oneness, plus the two equals three. at the risk of overly deconstructing all this, i think it fair to say that 'three' is hard to find a concrete meaning in the texts, and there is little classical support for the taiji meaning. yet for many, myself included, the taiji meaning plays well. san shang wanwu - three gives birth to 10K things whether taiji or simply as a result of the digression from dao, wanwu/myriad things are the result. pretty clear in its meaning. in wenzi and guanzi, the combination of the qi/vital energy of yin and yang result in life, and when not unified, death results. and now for the rest of the chapter: wanwu fu yin er bao yang - the myriad things carry yin whilest embracing yang according to my physicist friend from beijing, this expression speaks directly to particle physics and electrical force. in other words, 'fu' is the negative partical (electron) or charge, as is yin, and yang is positive charge. to say 'bao yang' is to refer to a positron. the key concept in particle physics, as in life, is that there is a field created by fu yin and bao yang, where the 10K things exist. All life is reliant on this interplay between yin and yang, whether speaking in terms of daojia or physics: it is the same principle. chong qi yi wei he - merging their vital energy in order to make harmony. entire books have been written on this concept. it is the core principle of the neiye and is replete throughout the han schools of daojia. the neijing of traditional chinese medicine also employs the notion of harmony created by proper balance of yin/yang qi. not much is said in the daodejing about he/harmony. indeed, it seems like more of a confucian principle to focus on harmony (harmony among the five relations, etc.). nevertheless, many other writings spend a lot of time discussion how harmony creates life and stiving/contention steal it. although in daojia, it is often said there is no right and wrong, but there are definitely favoured behaviours, wuwei (noncontrivance), wuyu (nondesire), buzhi (non-knowledge), and he/harmony. after the above, the text takes a turn into some aphorisms that i am not sure are relevant to the previous text. ren zhi suo wu wei: gu, gua, bugu - what people hate: to be lonely, widowed, hungry, er wang gong yi wei cheng - yet [these are what] kings and nobles call themselves. gu wu huo sun zhi er yi - thus, one may lose by gaining huo yi zhi er sun - and gain by losing ren zhi suo jiao wo yi jiao zhi - what others teach i also teach: qiang liang bu de qi si - a violent person meets an early death (does not obtain his death) wu jiang yi wei jiao fu - i shall make this the father of my teaching. good stuff, not sure how it relates to 'dao shang yi...' perhaps someone else can elucidate. -shazi
  9. nihao daoren

    hello, i am shazi, have been in various groups discussing daojia for around 15 years. post some, lurk more, mostly do nothing. read the six schools in classical chinese, but cannot speak a word of modern spoken chinese languages. found this site because it posted my translation of the guanzi/neiye. regards, -shazi