Friday, October 09, 2015

Chapter 76, Daodejing, Laozi

Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu
Chapter 76

"A man living is yielding and receptive.
Dying, he is rigid and inflexible.
All Things, the grass and trees:
Living, they are yielding and fragile;
Dying, they are dry and withered.
Thus those who are firm and inflexible
Are in harmony with dying.
Those who are yielding and receptive
Are in harmony with living.
Therefore an inflexible strategy will not triumph;
An inflexible tree will be attacked.
The position of the highly inflexible will descend;
The position of the yielding and receptive will ascend."
-  Translated by R. L. Wing, 1986, Chapter 76 

"Human beings are
soft and supple when alive,
stiff and straight when dead.
The myriad creatures, grasses and trees are
soft and supple when alive,
dry and withered when dead.
Therefore it is said:
the rigid person is a disciple of death;
the soft, supple and delicate are lovers of life.
The army that is inflexible will not conquer;
the tree that cannot bend will snap!
The unyielding and mighty will be brought low;
the soft, supple and delicate will rise above them."
-  Translated by Jerry C. Welch, 1998, Chapter 76   

"The living are soft and yielding;
the dead are rigid and stiff.
Living plants are flexible and tender;
the dead are brittle and dry.
Those who are stiff and rigid
are the disciple of death.
Those who are soft and yielding
are the disciples of life.
The rigid and stiff will be broken.
The soft and yielding will overcome."
-  Translated by John H. McDonald, 1996, Chapter 76   

"When a person is living they are soft and easy to bend. 
When they are dead, they become hard and stiff. 
When a plant is living, it is soft and tender. 
When it is dead, it becomes withered and dry.

The hard and stiff belongs to the company of the dead. 
The soft and easy to bend belongs to the company of the living.

A mighty army can to fall by its own weight,
Just as dry wood is ready for the ax.

The mighty and great will be put low;
The humble and weak will be raised high."
-  Translated by J. L. Trottier, 1994, Chapter 76 

-  Chinese characters, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 76

jên chih shêng yeh jou jo.
ch'i ssu yeh chien ch'iang.
wan wu ts'ao mu chih shêng yeh jou ts'ui.
ch'i ssu yeh k'u kao.
ku chien ch'iang chê ssu chih t'u. 
jou jo chê shêng chih t'u. 
shih yi ping ch'iang tsê pu shêng.
mu ch'iang tsê ping. 
ch'iang ta ch'u hsia.
jou jo ch'u shang.
-  Wade-Giles Romanization (1892), Tao Te Ching, Chapter 76

"When people are born, they are soft and yielding.
When people die, they are stiff and unyielding.
Ten-thousand things (everything) like grass and trees, when they are born, they are soft and supple.
When they die, they are rigid and dry.
Stiffness and unyielding are death’s companions.
Softness and yielding are life’s companions.
Unyielding armies will not win.
Unyielding trees become weapons.
Great strength dwells below.
Weakness dwells above."
-  Translated by Alan Sheets, 2002, Chapter 76 

"Abstain from Hardness
Chieh Ch'iang

Man is soft and weak at birth;
At death he is hard and rigid.
The ten thousand things, herbs and trees,
Are soft and delicate when growing up;
In dying, they wither and look haggard.
Thus hardness and rigidity are companions of death;
Softness and weakness are companions of life.
Therefore armies, having become rigid, will not win;
Trees, having become rigid, will break asunder.
The big and rigid will be laid low;
The soft and weak will be lifted up."
-  Translated by Henry Wei, 1982, Chapter 76


"El hombre al nacer es blando y débil;
cuando muere, rígido, firme y duro.
Las diez mil plantas y árboles son tiernos y frágilesal nacer;
cuando mueren están secos y consumidos.
De ahí el dicho:
'La firmeza y la dureza,
son atributos de la muerte;
la blandura y la debilidad,
son atributos de la vida.'
Por esta razón las armas fuertes no vencen,
el árbol vigoroso muere.
Lo firme y lo grande ocupan el lugar inferior;
lo blando y lo débil, el superior."
  -  Translated by Juan Ignacio Preciado, 1978, Capítulo 76  

"A living person is gentle and tender, while a dying person is rigid and hard.
A living plant is gentle and tender, while a dying plant is dry and withered.
Thus, one who is rigid and hard is on the way to die.
One who is gentle and tender is on the way to live.
Thus, a strong army will soon be annihilated.
A hard stick of wood will soon be broken.
A piece of hard leather will soon be split.
Teeth are stronger than lips, yet the teeth decay first.
Therefore, hardness and strength are inferior, gentleness and tenderness are superior."
-  Translated by Tang Zi-Chang, Chapter 76 

"Alive, a man is supple, soft;
In death, unbending, rigorous.
All creatures, grass and trees, alive
Are plastic but are pliant too,
And dead, are friable and dry.
Unbending rigor is the mate of death,
And wielding softness, company of life:
Unbending soldiers get no victories;
The stiffest tree is readiest for the axe.
The strong and mighty topple from their place;
The soft and yielding rise above them all."
-  Translated by Raymond Blakney, 1955, Chapter 76  

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 over 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 76, 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

One Old Daoist Druid's Final Journey  

Thursday, October 08, 2015

Rooting and Centering

The characteristic manifestations, aspects, and qualities of "Rooting" in Taijiquan and Qigong to be cultivated through body-mind-spirit practices are as follows:

Maintain an upright posture, head lifted, chin tucked, back straight;
Keep the head, torso, and hips in a relatively straight "plumb" line;
Draw energy (Qi) up from the earth (
Di ) and allow energy to flow down into the earth through the "bubbling well" point on the bottom of the front pad of your foot (the Yong Quan acupoint KI-1);
Sink the body weight through the legs and feet into the Earth; 
Stay balanced and relaxed (sung) while moving gracefully;
Keep the kneecaps over the center of the foot in settled positions;
Imagine roots branching out and down 3 feet or more into the earth from the "bubbling well" point on your foot with roots that are deep, strong, and flexible;
Develop an improved proprioceptive awareness of the skills needed for the specific activity;
Maintain a steady feeling state of being centered, stable, fixed, and strong in your position;
Resist pushes from others by sinking into the Earth and holding a fixed, strong, stable, and settled stance and footwork;
When pushing others use the earth, your feet, and your legs to generate leverage and power;
Connect with the Earth, relate to Earth energies, integrate with the Powers of the Earth, feel the Earth's Forces;
Keep a calm, grounded, relaxed, and centered mind;
Don't be so stiff and locked you cannot move with some fluidity and grace in response to situations and others;
Align the postures with the path of least resistance (wu wei) in the body;
Rooting is a feeling state and sensation-motor skill and less an intellectual concept;
Maintain postures and footwork while moving that prevent you from loosing balance, slipping, or falling;
Breathe easily, deeply, and effortlessly through the nose;
Be aware of one's footing, i.e., uneven surfaces, slippery or wet surfaces, poorly fitting or inappropriate shoes, hazards, etc.;
Avoid practicing when ill, uneasy, rushed or upset; 
Maintain one's central equilibrium (Zhongding) in the postures and movements. 

The characteristic manifestations, aspects, and qualities of "Central Equilibrium" (
Zhongding 定) in Taijiquan and Qigong to be cultivated through body-mind-spirit practices are as follows: 

Maintain an upright posture, head lifted, chin tucked, back straight;
Keep the head, torso, and hips in a relatively straight "plumb" line;
dynamic stability, be stabilized within, be centered, be settled;
Develop an improved proprioceptive awareness of the skills needed for the specific activity;
Be calm, still and settled in one's mind and emotions;
Allow one's body to sink and settle into the ground;
Keep the kneecaps over the center of the foot in settled positions;
Direct bodily energy (Qi, Chi) downward into the earth;
Relax (Sung), loosen, untense, and unlock the joints of the body;
Avoid wobbling, getting out of balance, or straining.  

Rooting and Centering.  By Mike Garofalo.  

T'ai Chi Chuan


"In all qigong practice it is very important to be rooted. Being rooted means to be stable and in firm contact with the ground. If you want to push a car you have to be rooted; the force you exert into the car needs to be balanced by the force into the ground. If you are not rooted, when you push the car you will only push yourself away and not move the car. Your root is made up of your body's sinking, centering, and balance.
    Before you can develop your root, you must first relax and let your body "settle." As you relax, the tension in the various parts of your body will dissolve, and you will find a comfortable way to stand. You will stop fighting the ground to keep your body up and will learn to rely on your body's structure to support itself. This lets the muscles relax even more. Since your body isn't struggling to stand up, your yi won't be pushing upward, and your body, mind, and qi will all be able to sink. If you let dirty water sit quietly, the impurities will gradually settle to the bottom, leaving the water above it clear. In the same way, if you relax your body enough to let it settle, your qi will sink to your dan tian and the bubbling wells (yongquan, K-1, 湧泉) in your feet and your mind will become clear. Then you can begin to develop your root.
    To root your body you must imitate a tree and grow an invisible root under your feet. This will give you a firm root to keep you stable in your training. Your root must be wide as well as deep. Naturally, your yi must grow first because it is the yi that leads the qi. Your yi must be able to lead the qi to your feet and be able to communicate with the ground. Only when your yi can communicate with the ground will your qi be able to grow beyond your feet and enter the ground to build the root. The bubbling well cavity is the gate that enables your qi to communicate with the ground.  
    After you have gained your root, you must learn how to keep your center. A stable center will make your qi develop evenly and uniformly. If you lose this center, your qi will not be led evenly. In order to keep your body centered, you must first center your yi and then match your body to it. Only under these conditions will the qigong forms you practice have their root. Your mental and physical centers are the keys that enable you to lead your qi beyond your body.
    Balance is the product of rooting and centering. Balance includes balancing the qi and the physical body. It does not matter which aspect of balance you are dealing with; first, you must balance your yi, and only then can you balance your qi and your physical body."
Grandmaster Yang, Jwing-Ming  


Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Which are More Numerous: The Living or the Dead?

"Alexander captured ten of the Gymnosophists who had done most to get Sabbas to revolt, and had made the most trouble for the Macedonians. These philosophers were reputed to be clever and concise in answering questions, and Alexander therefore put difficult questions to them, declaring that he would put to death him who first made an incorrect answer, and then the rest, in an order determined in like manner; and he commanded one of them, the oldest, to be the judge in the contest. The first one, accordingly, being asked which, in his opinion, were more numerous, the living or the dead, said that the living were, since the dead no longer existed. The second, being asked whether the earth or the sea produced larger animals, said the earth did, since the sea was but a part of the earth. The third, being asked what animal was the most cunning, said: "That which up to this time man has not discovered." The fourth, when asked why he had induced Sabbas to revolt, replied: "Because I wished him either to live nobly or to die nobly." The fifth, being asked which, in his opinion, was older, day or night, replied: "Day, by one day"; and he added, upon the king expressing amazement, that hard questions must have hard answers. Passing on, then, to the sixth, Alexander asked how a man could be most loved; "If," said the philosopher, "he is most powerful, and yet does not inspire fear." Of the three remaining, he who was asked how one might become a god instead of man, replied: "By doing something which a man cannot do"; the one who was asked which was the stronger, life or death, answered: "Life, since it supports so many ills." And the last, asked how long it were well for a man to live, answered: "Until he does not regard death as better than life." So, then, turning to the judge, Alexander bade him give his opinion. The judge declared that they had answered one worse than another. "Well, then," said Alexander, "thou shalt die first for giving such a verdict." "That cannot be, O King," said the judge, "unless thou falsely said that thou wouldst put to death first him who answered worst." These philosophers, then, he dismissed with gifts...
— Plutarch, Life of Alexander the Great, "The Parallel Lives", 64-65. 

The Master once proposed a riddle: "What do the artist and the musician have in common with the mystic?"
Everyone gave up.
"The realization that the finest speech does not come from the tongue," said the Master.

Riddles - Google Search

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Yi Jin Jing Chi Kung

I have done some research on Muscle and Tendon Changing Qigong, Yi Jin Jing Qigong, and have documented my findings on a webpage:  Yi Jin Jing Qigong.

I recommend the following Yi Jin Jing Qigong resource:  

Yi Jin Jing: Chinese Health Qigong.  Compiled by the Chinese Health Qigong Association.  Beijing, China, Foreign Languages Press, 2007.  95 pages, charts, includes an instructional DVD.  ISBN: 9787119047782.  $20.00 US.  VSCL.  "Qigong is an aspect of traditional Chinese medicine that involves coordinating breathing patterns with physical postures to maintain health and well-being. Yi Jin Jing/ Tendon-Muscle Strengthening Exercises is an accessible, fully-illustrated guide to a particular qigong exercise that focuses on turning and flexing the spine.  Based on the twelve traditional routines of Yi Jin Jing, the exercises covered in the book feature soft, extended, even movements that invigorate the limbs and internal organs. In particular, practice of the Yi Jin Jing exercises improves flexibility, balance and muscular strength, and has a beneficial effect on the respiratory system. Each routine is described step-by-step and is illustrated with photographs and key points. The authors also point out common mistakes and offer advice on how to correct these.  Complemented by an appendix of acupuncture points and accompanied by a DVD, this book will be of interest to Qigong and Tai Chi practitioners at all levels, students of martial arts and anyone interested in Chinese culture." - Singing Dragon.  


Monday, October 05, 2015

Grandmaster Sun Lu Tang (1861-1933)

"When a modern day "New Age" practitioner of tai chi speaks of the art as being "good for his health and a way to align his energy with the energy of the Tao," that viewpoint came largely from Sun Lu Tang. Or when pa kua practitioners walk the pa kua circle on a California beach and talk of how "pa kua forms are physical embodiments of the I-Ching," their ideas derive largely from Sun Lu Tang. Or when modern day practitioners of xing yi opine that "the five forms of xing yi interact like the five basic elements in Taoist cosmology," they to owe their thinking largely to Sun Lu Tang."
- Elisabeth Guo and Brian L. Kennedy, Sun Lu Tang: Fighter, Scholar and Image Maker.

Sun Style Taijiquan: Bibliography, Links, Resources, Quotes
By Michael P. Garofalo

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Walking: A Fountain of Youth

A cornerstone of my weekly fitness practices is walking.  

Looking east on Kilkenny Lane near Red Bluff, California.  I walk 3.6 miles on this cul de sac lane, four days each week, in the morning.  I walk at daybreak on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday morning throughout the entire year.  

The photographs on this post were taken in early November.  It is one of my favorite  seasons for walking in the morning. 

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.  

Sometimes I listen to my MP3 player while I walk.  Sometimes I walk in silence.   

Sometimes I take my dog, Bruno, for a walk.  Most often, I walk alone.  

"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 the 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  


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. 

So, see you on the road.  You are welcome to join me on Kilkenny Lane for walking and Taijiquan.    

"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  

Study Tai Chi Chuan or Chi Kung or Philosophy with Mike Garofalo

Saturday, October 03, 2015

Early Mornings Are Cool

"Heat lingers
As days are still long;
Early mornings are cool
While autumn is still young.
Dew on the lotus
Scatters pure perfume;
Wind on the bamboos
Gives off a gentle tinkling.
I am idle and lonely,
Lying down all day,
Sick and decayed;
No one asks for me;
Thin dusk before my gates,
Cassia blossoms inch deep."

-  Po Chu-i (772-864), Autumn Coolness
Translated by Howard S. Levy and Henry Wells

"To enrich the earth I have sowed clover and grass
to grow and die. I have plowed in the seeds
of winter grains and various legumes,
their growth to be plowed in to enrich the earth.
I have stirred into the ground the offal
and the decay of the growth of past seasons
and so mended the earth and made its yield increase.
All this serves the dark. Against the shadow
of veiled possibility my workdays stand
in a most asking light. I am slowly falling
into the fund of things. And yet to serve the earth,
not knowing what I serve, gives a wideness
and a delight to the air, and my days
do not wholly pass. It is the mind's service,
for when the will fails so do the hands
and one lives at the expense of life.
After death, willing or not, the body serves,
entering the earth. And so what was heaviest
and most mute is at last raised up into song."
-  Wendell Berry 

October Gardening Chores
Red Bluff, North Sacramento Valley, California, USA

USDA Zone 9

Removing dead and non-productive vegetable crops. 
Ordering seed and garden catalogs.
Start planting seedlings for the Winter Garden. 
Removing dead fruit and branches to burn pile. 
Remove all peppers in case of frost.
Adding and turning manure into the soil. 
Put all tools up under cover in the sheds. 
Reduce watering as temperature drops.
Watering plants as needed.
Being attentive to the effects of the cold dry winds. 
Planting potted trees and shrubs in the ground.
Placing cold sensitive potted plants in protected areas or indoors.
Planting new bulbs and moving old bulbs.
Prune and mulch perennials. 
Cutting dead branches and limbs from trees. 
Research new material for this webpage. 
Storing and repairing tools.
Fertilize with 20-9-9 or 15-15-15. 
Trees without leaves need little or no watering.
Picking pumpkins, squash, colored corn, and other crops for Thanksgiving decorations.
Finish all digging and construction projects before the first rain.
Bring in wood and kindling to rain free storage areas.
Repair roofs on sheds and house.
Mow lawns and use cuttings in mulch pile. 
Clean up Sacred Circle Garden
Clean and repair gutters. 
Close up evaporate coolers and cover. 
Add fallen leaves to the compost pile.
Be prepared for chilling frosts.
Collect seeds from plants.
Start pruning berry vines.  

Keep in mind that trees and shrubs planted in the spring and summer use a significant amount of their resources for above-ground growth. Since root growth is favored during the dormant season, it’s best to install landscape plants in the fall. It has been demonstrated that shrubs and trees planted during the fall suffer less environmental stress than those planted in the spring or summer."
 -   Dr. Linda Chalker-Scott

All photographs of our garden are by Karen Garofalo.

Friday, October 02, 2015

Tao Te Ching, Chapter 77, by Lao Tzu

Daodejing, Laozi
Chapter 77

"The way of heaven,
Is it not like stretching a bow?
What is high up is pressed down,
What is low down is lifted up;
What has surplus is reduced,
What is deficient is supplemented.
The way of heaven,
It reduces those who have surpluses,
To supplement those who are deficient.
The human way is just not so.
It reduces those who are deficient,
To offer those who have surpluses.
Who can offer his surpluses to the world?
Only a person of Tao.
Therefore the sage works (wei) without holding on to,
Accomplishes without claiming credit.
Is it not because he does not want to show off his merits?"
-  Translated by Ellen M. Chen, 1989, Chapter 77  

"The Tao of Heaven resembles a drawn bow.
It brings down the high and exalts the lowly;
it takes from those who have superfluity,
and gives to those who have not enough.
The Tao of Heaven abstracts where there is too much,
and supplements where there is deficiency.
The Tao of men does not so.
It takes away from what is already deficient
in order to bestow on those who have a superfluity.
Who is able to devote his surplus to the needs of others?
Only he who is possessed of Tao. 
Thus it is that the Sage acts, yet does not plume himself;
achieves works of merit, yet does not hold to them.
He has no wish to make a display of his worthiness."
-  Translated by Frederic H. Balfour, 1884, Chapter 77  

"The Path of Heaven is like bending a bow-
the upper part is pressed down,
the lower part is raised up;
the part which has much is reduced,
the part that has little is increased.
Therefore, the Path of Heaven
reduced surplus to make up for scarcity;
the way of mankind's Ego
reduces scarcity and pays tribute to surplus!
Who is there who can have a surplus
and take from it to pay tribute to Heaven?
Surely, only one who is on the Path.
For this reason, Sages transact, but do not hoard,
complete their work but do not dwell upon it.
In this way, they have no desire to display their 'worth.' "
-  Translated by Jerry C. Welch, 1998, Chapter 77

"The Tao of Heaven,
Is it not like the bending of a bow?
The top comes down and the bottom-end goes up,
The extra length is shortened, the insufficient width is expanded.
It is the way of Heaven to take away from those that have too much
And give to those that have not enough.
Not so with man's way:
He takes from those that have not
And gives it as tribute to those that have too much.
Who can have enough and to spare to give to the entire world?
Only the man of Tao.
Therefore the Sage acts, but does not possess,
Accomplishes but lays claim to no credit,
Because he has no wish to seem superior."
-  Translated by Lin Yutang, 1955, Chapter 77 

天之道, 其猶張弓與?


-  Chinese characters, Chapter 77, Tao Te Ching

tian zhi dao, qi you zhang gong yu?
gao zhe yi zhi,
xia zhe ju zhi,
you yu zhe sun zhi,
bu zu zhe bu zhi.

tian zhi dao sun you yu er bu bu zu,
ren zhi dao ze bu ran,
sun bu zu yi feng you yu.
shu neng you yu yi feng tian xia?

wei you dao zhe.
shi yi sheng ren wei er bu shi,
gong cheng er bu chu,
qi bu yu xian xian.
-  Pinyin Romanization, Chapter 77, Daodejing 
"Bend the bow and embrace the tiger
to emulate the way of heave

drawn with resoluteness
the bow changes length and width
turning in on itself

released with resoluteness
the bow projects its arrow fixedly to a target
by equalizing itself

the bow can shoot up or down as needed
always seeking to balance out
flexibility and cohesion
always seeking to resolve
excesses of energy and deficiencies of energy

equalizing and balancing out and resolving
are the ways of heaven

but the ways of man
make things unequal
imbalanced and unresolved
cutting man off from heaven and earth

only a sage wise man humbly cultivating the tao
     way of life
can entreat heaven on man's behalf
asking heaven
to reestablish the natural order
by not asking heaven

when he is successful
he does not dwell on it
displaying his skill at emulating the way of heaven

he simply smiles
and moves on to the next task."
-  Translated by John Bright-Fey, Chapter 77

"Is not Tao like the drawn bow?
The highest part is lowered,
the lowest part is raised.
Overall length is shortened,
overall depth is lengthened.
So the Great Tao
lowers the highest and raises the lowest.
But the Tao of man
increases the high and decreases the low.
Who can take from the high and give to the low?
Only the true follower of Tao.
Thus, the truly wise act but are not possessive,
achieve but claim no credit,
because they have no desire for vain glory."
-  Translated by C. Ganson, Chapter 77 

¿Acaso el camino del cielo no procede
igual que el que tensa un arco?
Rebaja lo que está arriba
y elva lo que está arriba
y elva lo que está abajo;
quita lo que sobra
y reemplaza lo que falta.

El camino del Cielo quita el excedente
para compensar lo que falta.
El camino del hombre es my distinto:
el homre quita al indigente
para sumárselo al rico.

¿Quién puede dar al mundo lo que tiene de superfluo
sino el que posee el Tao?

El santo actúa sin esperar nada
lleva a cabo su obra sin encapricharse con ella
y mantiene escondido su mérito."
-  Translated by Alba, 1998, Tao Te Ching, Capítulo 77 

"The Tao of heaven is like the art of archery,
tall man, aim low;
short man, aim high.
If the string is too long, shorten it;
not enough, lengthen it.
The Tao of heaven is just like that,
short the long, long the short.
Man's way is different.
He takes from those who do not have enough,
to give to those who already have too much.
Who can have anything left for taking?
Only the man of Tao, as sage,
works without taking,
achieves without keeping,
does not show his greatness."
-  Translated by Tienzen Gong, Chapter 77 

"Is not the Tao of heaven like the drawing of a bow?
It brings down the part which is high; it raises the part which is low;
it lessens the part which is redundant (convex); it fills up the part which is insufficient (concave).
The Tao of heaven is to lessen the redundant and fill up the insufficient.
The Tao of man, on the contrary, is to take from the insufficient and give to the redundant.
Who can take from the redundant and give to the insufficient?
Only he who has Tao can.
Therefore the Sage does not horde.
The more he helps others, the more he benefits himself the more he gives to others, the more he gets himself.
The Tao of heaven does one good but never does one harm; the Tao of the Sage acts but never contends."
-  Translated by Ch'u Ta-Kao, 1904, Chapter 77  

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 over 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 Webpage drop down menu, and other resources for that Chapter.   

Chapter 77, 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

One Old Daoist Druid's Final Journey  



Thursday, October 01, 2015

October Morning Mild

"O hushed October morning mild,
Thy leaves have ripened to the fall;
Tomorrow's wind, if it be wild,
Should waste them all.
The crows above the forest call;
Tomorrow they may form and go.
O hushed October morning mild,
Begin the hours of this day slow.
Make the day seem to us less brief.
Hearts not averse to being beguiled,
Beguile us in the way you know.
Release one leaf at break of day;
At noon release another leaf;
One from our trees, one far away."
-   Robert Frost, October

October: Poems, Quotes, Sayings, Lore

"Gardening is the slowest of the performing arts."
-  Mac Keith Griswold

The month of October, for us, in Red Bluff, California, means cooler daytime temperatures, some rain, brisk mornings, falling leaves, ripening apples and persimmons, closing down the summertime vegetable garden, planting a winter garden, blooming chrysanthemums, longer walks, pruning, fertilizing, and cleaning up the yard and gardens.  

A few photographs of our garden are included below.  The photographs were all taken by Karen Garofalo in October 2013.

All photographs of our garden are by Karen Garofalo.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Bone Marrow Washing Chi Kung

John wrote to me asking,

"Hello, Mike. I have enjoyed all of your guides and articles, and know if I have a guestion I just need to go to your website and I usually always find an answer.

I have been researching Xi Sui Jing or Bone Marrow Washing. I have had no success, and wonder if you may be able to guide me in the right direction to either find a teacher, literature or video on this system. I am told there are 18 forms or exercises. Is this true?  I have non-Hodgkins lymphoma cancer and thought this may help with my chemotherapy treatments, although the doctor thinks it's a waste of time and money. Thank you."


Intelligently listen to your oncologist's "advice" about treating cancer in terms of complementary medicine and physical exercises.  Some favor exercise and others do not as a complementary therapy.  Many people do not feel much like doing qigong exercises while undergoing chemotherapy.

I can't agree with your doctor that practicing Qigong would be a waste of money since it is very inexpensive or totally free to learn and pracice.  Books and instructional DVDs are quite inexpensive these days, and free UTube video are readily available.  Some people argue that the current elaborate and extremely costly conventional medical treatments for cancer are a waste of time and money, and cause undue suffering, and decide on other options, including doing nothing (wu wei).  This makes for very difficult decisions by the patient.

Based on considerable worldwide research, people who are overweight and don't exercise and eat improperly and use unhealthy drugs have a higher incidence of poor health and diseases and die younger than people who are trim, fit, eat properly, don't use recreational drugs, and exercise regularly.  Nevertheless, I do not believe that Qigong or other fitness modalities can be of significant benefit in curing or slowing the progress of cancer; and people who actively practice Qigong may get cancer anyway.  Cancer has many causes and its appearance is currently unpredictable, although more likely above the age of 60, and cancer "cures" are actively being researched and evaluated.   There is lively debate on the subject of the best treatments for the complex and serious disease of cancer.  Read the book "The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer" by Dr. Stephen Hoye and Siddhartha Mukherje, 2010, for a thorough discussion of this important subject, although a depressing account.   

Some Qigong (Chi Kung) enthusiasts and teachers do believe that their exercises, breathing, meditation, and visualization methods do significantly help people with serious diseases, including cancer.  Medical Qigong offers clinics attempting to help people with all kinds of health problems, and schools training future Qigong medical practitioners and healers exist worldwide.  However, Caveat emptor.

High hopes that the body will heal iteself using some method is very important.  The placebo effect is a real factor.  If you have confidence that Qigong will help in your healing, then it just might work for you.

As for Bone Marrow Washing (Xi Sui Jing) Qigong:  

Gabi Greve from Japan sent me information on Daruma Bone and Marrow Washing Exercises.

Roberto Gravez recommended "The Scholar Warrior" by Deng Ming-Dao.  This book gives all 24 movements of Bone Marrow Washing Chi Kung with drawings and instructions. The book also provides guides for diet, meditation, and so forth.  Mr. Gravez criticized my skepticism about the use of qigong in healing cancer.  I agree with him that "Scholar Warrior" is a fine and useful book, and Deng Ming-Dao is a good writer and expert on Taoist matters. 

Dr. Bikum Hu in Berkeley, California, teaches Bone Marrow Washing Qigong.  

As for general well-being, an increased sense of vitality, feeling good, psycho-spiritual progress, positive visualization, and relaxation, qigong has helped many people. Most people who regularly practice qigong generally have positive comments to make about their experiences.

Yang Jwing-Ming and Mantak Chia have written books on the Bone Marrow Washing Chi Kung form, and, as I recall, give instructions on a version of the set. Yang Jwing-Ming's books are usually very informative and useful for learning forms, and have excellent, detailed background theory.

There are both harder and easier verions of the Xi Sui Jing exercise as with Shaolin White Crane Qigong. 18 Lohan Qigong, another Shaolin Qigong form, is also popular.

I'd recommend The Eight Section Brocade Qigong for a general introductory form, and you don't need to spend any extra money learning it (I explain it for free on a webpage); and, there are many free UTube verison online.  Please, don't spend more than 20 mintues a day, at first, doing the form in the early morning. Also, enjoy some walking if you feel up to it!

I find the exercises, postures, and movement routines of many "different" qigong forms to be quite similar.  Likewise, there are also many named "styles" of yoga, but the postures of physical (hatha) yoga are common and familiar, even if named differently.  For example, lunges or moving the shoulders/arms through a full range of motion are found in all qigong, taijiquan, and yoga practices.

Visualizations of energy flow inside and outside the body, philosophical emphasis, vigorous vs gentle movements, breathing instructions, and descriptions of esoteric anatomy or meridians vary more in qigong forms. 

John, my very best wishes for a long remission, improved well-being, and a peaceful soul.

Mike Garofalo