A Question of Translation

Re: A Question of Translation

Postby extrajoseph » Tue Jul 02, 2013 6:24 am

Hi Audi,

You are making a good point here, Yi 意 can be voluntative or cognitive and I was trying to use both to express the idea of progression in learning from desire to knowledge, but perhaps it should be kept at one level or the other. I am glad that you agree with me in the last two points, they are also my learning experience.

Keep well.

XJ
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Re: A Question of Translation

Postby UniTaichi » Tue Jul 02, 2013 6:42 am

Hi Audi,

I have read about Shenming and indeed it is one of the highest stage in spiritual practices. I have posted something about Fa Shen, in the other thread where I said, is the highest type of Fajin. We are actually not that far away, or better, quite close in our observations in Shenming or Wuji. We are what we eat, what we read, what we are taught by our teachers, what we experience, etc. FWIW, when one said, you have achieve Shenming, that means one can ''perform'' incrediable things. So to me, Shenming is Doing/movement/act or action. And here it come ; one need to be in the State of Wuji or achieved the State, to be able to do Shenming. So Shenming can be said it is a ''result of Wuji'' Or Shenming is Technique, Wuji is Method. (another can of .. whatever just opened. ;) )

Things like Wuji might be meaningless now but in future ..... who knows. For myself everything has its' value and usefulness.

On the form practice. In general, one should practice the form daily or at least frequently (10-30 years) to correct the postures etc. until you reach another stage, when the ''special abilities'' ''shenming'' manifest itself. So it is correct to said way to no-form is through form and not to be dismiss or de-empasize.

Cheers,
UniTaichi
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Re: A Question of Translation

Postby extrajoseph » Tue Jul 02, 2013 8:09 pm

一阴九阳跟头棍, 


二阴八阳是散手, 


三阴七阳尤觉硬,
四阴六阳类好手, 


唯有五阴并五阳, 


阴阳不偏称妙手。

One part yin nine parts yang, this is basically (gen) a cudgel (tougun),
Two parts yin eight parts yang, this is confused hand;
Three parts yin seven parts yang, this still feels hard,
Four parts yin six parts yang, this is clearly a good hand!
Only (wei) in having five yin and five yang, with yin and yang balanced, is it called marvelous hand!


Greetings Louis,

Thank you for the link to the thread “Empty and Full” and also your translation of the above.

When I was reading your words this thought came to my head: the topic of discussion was on Empty and Full (Xu and Shi) 虛實but these words on achieving the balance of Yin and Yang are more about Hard and Soft (Gang and Rou) 剛柔 because the images used, a cudgel and a hand, and the contrast between 硬 and 妙, have the implication of contrasting the Hard and the Soft and the Living and the Dead (Sheng and Si) 生死, rather than with Empty and Full.

Would you agree? And are there in the classics anywhere that they wrote about the differences between the two concepts (Empty and Full v Hard and Soft), as far as Taijiquan is concerned?

I am aware that Yin and Yang can be expressed in many ways and the general idea is to integrate, them but it seem the Chinese also have a preference on how to handle them as in 动静要变化、开合要鼓荡、虚实要分明 and 刚柔要相济。

I hope you can have more time to answer me, and thanking you in advance.

Regards,
XJ
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Re: A Question of Translation

Postby Louis Swaim » Wed Jul 03, 2013 3:45 am

Greetings XJ,

My understanding of terms such as hard/soft, empty/full, stillness/movement, opening/closing, and yin/yang is that they all are expressions of correlative thinking. They all are rooted in analogies, and they describe processes. Unlike some Western philosophical ways of thinking, they do not define what something is; instead they describe how something works. Depending on whether the topic is strategy, tactics, mental, physical, or what have you, different correlative pairs may be used to describe the process. Traditionally, all of them fit within the general correlative viewpoint of yin and yang.

Take care,
Louis
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Re: A Question of Translation

Postby extrajoseph » Wed Jul 03, 2013 7:56 am

Hi Louis,

Thanks for the quick and to the point answers, I am in complete agreement with you, the Chinese use these Yin Yang correlations to get us to contemplate about what should be done (e.g. Empty and Full to think about differentiation and Hard and Soft to think about integration 虚实要分明, 刚柔要相济) but correlation is not causation, so we have to achieve them ourselves through practise. In light of this, how does an apophatic term like Wuji fit into the scheme of things? Are these terms like Wuji 無極 (Ultimate of Nonbeing), Xuan 玄 (Mysterious/Abstruse) and Tai Xu 太虛 (the Great Void), the philosophical basis behind miraculous feats like Lingkong Jin?

Again, your knowledge on the classics and the key concepts in Chinese philosophy as applied to Taijiquan will be greatly appreciated.

XJ

PS. Your translation on Fu Zhongwen's book should arrive tomorrow and I look forward to reading it, have you met the old gentleman before he passed away? I studied with his son in Australia for a while many years ago now, it is good to see that the family tradition continues for generations, now it is grandson James' turn and he seems to be doing well.
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Re: A Question of Translation

Postby Audi » Wed Jul 03, 2013 11:10 am

Hi everyone,

I do not have time at the moment to address the overall topic, but just wanted to say that I think that 刚柔要相济 means "Hard and soft should relieve/help each other." To my understanding, these sayings try to apply cosmic philosophy to the practical problems of learning Tai Chi. Also, Yin Yang theory includes not only correlation, but also causation, dependence, differentiation, and interaction. Taiji is a one of two. Wuji can be a one, but then there are no two; or it can be a two, but then there can be no one.

Also, I think before you talk in detail about Wuji, you need to decide how you believe it fits in the cosmos. In China at the time of the classics, Confucians, Daoists, and Buddhists had different views, even when on the surface they used the same language. For my practice , I take the phrase 无极而太极 (The limitless, and yet the supreme limit or non polar and yet the supreme polarity) as the most relevant.

Take care,
Audi
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Re: A Question of Translation

Postby extrajoseph » Wed Jul 03, 2013 5:24 pm

Hi Audi,

You are quite right that they (Confucians, Daoists, and Buddhists) have different views using the same terminology and they borrowed from each other. For example, although the Neo-Confucians do not agree with the Daoists they borrowed the Daoist ideas and changed them to suit the ideology.

From: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taiji_(philosophy).

周敦頤寫下《太極圖說》,解釋太極的奧秘。前半段基本上符合道教的思想。後半段比較多地講了儒家的仁義道德思想。 他的解釋,第一句是「自無極而太極」,意思是從無極生出太極,但南宋著名的理學家朱熹整理注解《太極圖說》時,刪去了「自」字,改成「無極而太極」,認為無極只是形容太極 ,說明它之上沒有更高的本原。這並不符合陳摶所傳《太極圖》的原意,而且抹去了它出自道教的事實。同時,朱熹對圖也有個別改動。

My translation:
Zhou Dunyi wrote the Taijitu Shuo 太極圖說 "Explanation of the Diagram of the Supreme Ultimate", which explained the profound mystery of the Taiji. The first half basically matches the Daoist religious thoughts. The second half spoke more about the “Renyi Daode” ideas of the Confucians. In his original explanation, the first sentence reads 「自無極而太極」,which means the Taiji is born from the Wuji, but the famous Southern Song Lixuejia Zhu Xi deleted the first character 「自」 in his commentary and edition of the Taijitu Shuo, and regarded Wuji as a part of Taiji and not something higher in origin. This did not matched with original idea of the Taijitu as passed down by Chen Tuan and it also eliminated the fact that it came from the Daoist religion. At the same Zhu Xi also changed some of the meanings of the picture (translator’s note: e.g. He read the picture from top down rather than from bottom up).


The question I like to ask you and Louis and other experts here is which of the three philosophies regarding the relationship between Taiji and Wuji did the Taijiquan classics followed? Could it be all three as in “三教合一”(three religions combined into one) and if that is the case how was it done and how would it influenced our Taijiquan practice?

Thank you for your participation in the discussions even when you are very busy and don’t have enough time. BTW, if you have a moment to spare, can you tell us how the Yin Yang correlations lead to causation?

Also, Yin Yang theory includes not only correlation, but also causation, dependence, differentiation, and interaction.


Regards,
XJ
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Re: A Question of Translation

Postby extrajoseph » Wed Jul 03, 2013 8:04 pm

太極拳經

太極者。無極而生。陰陽之母也。動之則分。靜之則合。無過不及。隨屈就伸。人剛我柔謂之走。我順人背謂之黏。動急則急應。動緩則緩隨。雖變化萬端。而理為一貫。由着熟而漸悟懂勁。由懂勁而階及神明。然非功力之久。不能豁然貫通焉。

THE TAIJI BOXING CLASSIC (Brennan Translation)
Taiji is born of Wuji, and is the mother of yin and yang. When there is movement, the passive and active aspects become distinct from each other. When there is stillness, they return to being indistinguishable.
 Neither going too far nor not far enough, comply and bend then engage and extend. He is hard while I am soft – this is yielding. My energy is smooth while his energy is coarse – this is sticking. If he moves fast, I quickly respond, and if his movement is slow, I leisurely follow. Although there is an endless variety of possible scenarios, there is only this single principle [of yielding and sticking] throughout. Once you have engrained these techniques, you will gradually come to identify energies, and then from there you will work your way toward something miraculous. But unless you practice a lot over a long time, you will never have a breakthrough.


Here is one (the relationship between Taiji and Wuji) from the The Taiji Boxing Classic, it says “Taiji is born of Wuji” and “the mother of yin and yang” and that is all, it did not mention anything about returning to the Wuji, instead it mentioned that the single principle in the process is the Yin and Yang of yielding and sticking.

It says very clearly that the way to Shenming 神明 (Brennan translated as “something miraculous”) is through Dong Jin 懂勁 (Brennan translated as “identify energy”)

It seems to have a Daoist orientation and like Louis said earlier it does not concern so much with what it is but how it works to achieve “clarity of the spirit” 神明. The breakthrough is done through hard work over a long period of time and the emphasis is on yielding and sticking 走與黏.

Using the correlative thinking of Yin and Yang a definite process is described on how to achieve the miraculous.

Now I wonder if there is anything in the classics relating to Lingkong Jin, which in here do not seem to tie up with the concept of Wuji, or Taiji for that matter.

XJ
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Re: A Question of Translation

Postby Louis Swaim » Wed Jul 03, 2013 10:01 pm

Hi XJ,

I'm pretty busy at the moment, but here's another thread you may find of interest. viewtopic.php?f=7&t=718

In it I translated a passage by Wu Tunan on linkong. Further down in the thread I mention complex causation as one way of understanding yin-yang correlative thinking. I know Audi mentioned causation, and I'm looking forward to hearing his thoughts on that. I think traditional Chinese thinking was less concerned with what might be called linear causation -- first causes or final causes or teleology -- and more tuned in to complex causation.

Oh, and quickly, the "san jiao" (three teachings) are in fact mentioned in the Yang Forty Chapters -- I think maybe in the last two texts. I've always been of the opinion that taijiquan is grounded in a syncretic impulse; it draws upon many traditions.

--Louis
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Re: A Question of Translation

Postby extrajoseph » Thu Jul 04, 2013 8:51 am

Hi Louis,

Thank you for answering even when you are busy and also the link on Wu Tuna, this forum is one of the best I have seen as far as discussions on Taijiquan is concerned and it is people like you that makes it so enjoyable to be a part of it, I am sorry I only discover this place so late.

I am aware that Wu Tunan talked about linkong jin and Chen Yanlin 陳炎林
 also did the same, and probably earlier, in his book 太極拳刀劍桿散手合編
 Taiji Compiled: The Boxing, Saber, Sword, Pole, and Sparring
:

“凌空劲此劲异常奥妙,而非目睹者所能信,实乃一种精神上之作用而已。艺高者发此劲时,仅须口中一哈,对方即双足离地而后退。盖因被发者精神已为发者所吸引,无可抵抗;然被发者必须先明沾粘等劲,故一哈之后,即由感觉而后退,否则发者仍无效。此劲虽奥妙莫测,但学者可不必深求,仅作游戏观可耳。相传昔时杨健侯、少侯父子能吸引烛火近尺,一手隔之,火光遂熄,即凌空劲中之一法。惟此功夫今已失传云。”

But I was looking for some older source and a traditional theoretical basis for this phenonmenon, but it seems, from my research so far, to be a modern happening. The other curious thing is why translate "lingkong jin" 凌空勁 as "empty force"? Lingkong means "high up in the sky" in my dictionary, it sounds a bit airy fairy already! :-) According to Chen Yanlin, it is a kind of the function of the mind and not really a force.

Regards,
XJ
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Re: A Question of Translation

Postby extrajoseph » Thu Jul 04, 2013 2:02 pm

Using shen, we can control the other from a comparatively distant position. This kind of transformation is to become one with nature. Therefore there is no need for shape or form; in the midst of shapelessness and formlessness you are already united as one body.


Here Wu Tunan made the classic mistake of thinking that shen is some sort of physical force that can control others from a distance. He is thinking in a western way, the Chinese sense of spirit require Ganying 感應 (feelings and response) between two parties, it is not a force it is an interaction requiring mutual co-operation to be effective.

XJ
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Re: A Question of Translation

Postby Louis Swaim » Thu Jul 04, 2013 3:39 pm

extrajoseph wrote:Hi Louis,

Thank you for answering even when you are busy and also the link on Wu Tuna, this forum is one of the best I have seen as far as discussions on Taijiquan is concerned and it is people like you that makes it so enjoyable to be a part of it, I am sorry I only discover this place so late.

I am aware that Wu Tunan talked about linkong jin and Chen Yanlin 陳炎林
 also did the same, and probably earlier, in his book 太極拳刀劍桿散手合編
 Taiji Compiled: The Boxing, Saber, Sword, Pole, and Sparring
:

“凌空劲此劲异常奥妙,而非目睹者所能信,实乃一种精神上之作用而已。艺高者发此劲时,仅须口中一哈,对方即双足离地而后退。盖因被发者精神已为发者所吸引,无可抵抗;然被发者必须先明沾粘等劲,故一哈之后,即由感觉而后退,否则发者仍无效。此劲虽奥妙莫测,但学者可不必深求,仅作游戏观可耳。相传昔时杨健侯、少侯父子能吸引烛火近尺,一手隔之,火光遂熄,即凌空劲中之一法。惟此功夫今已失传云。”

But I was looking for some older source and a traditional theoretical basis for this phenonmenon, but it seems, from my research so far, to be a modern happening. The other curious thing is why translate "lingkong jin" 凌空勁 as "empty force"? Lingkong means "high up in the sky" in my dictionary, it sounds a bit airy fairy already! :-) According to Chen Yanlin, it is a kind of the function of the mind and not really a force.

Regards,
XJ


Hi XJ,

I've also been unable to find really early taiji documents that mention lingkong. I avoid "empty force" as a translation; I translate lingkong as "airborne." This would include phenomena such as sound waves, light waves, and scent. Elsewhere on this board I wrote that the term lingkong is itself a tough one to translate. It has been used in contexts other than taiji, including meanings of “soaring,” “flying high,” “towering,” and even for “guessing.” The term “kongjin” sometimes translated “empty force” is an abbreviation of “lingkong jin.” To my mind, “empty force” sounds like nonsense. In any case, it doesn’t have anything to do with force, but with awareness and perception.

Take care,
Louis
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Re: A Question of Translation

Postby extrajoseph » Thu Jul 04, 2013 8:10 pm

Hi Louis,

Thank you for your confirmation of my feelings on these matters. Has anyone translated Chen Yanlin's words about lingkong jin before? It seems there are two kinds of lingkong jin that he mentioned, the first kind is the one we are seeing a lot lately on youtube and it is interesting that Chen Yanlin said there is no need to pursue it further but treated it like game.

“凌空劲此劲异常奥妙,而非目睹者所能信,实乃一种精神上之作用而已。艺高者发此劲时,仅须口中一哈,对方即双足离地而后退。盖因被发者精神已为发者所吸引,无可抵抗;然被发者必须先明沾粘等劲,故一哈之后,即由感觉而后退,否则发者仍无效。此劲虽奥妙莫测,但学者可不必深求,仅作游戏观可耳。相传昔时杨健侯、少侯父子能吸引烛火近尺,一手隔之,火光遂熄,即凌空劲中之一法。惟此功夫今已失传云。”


XJ
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Re: A Question of Translation

Postby UniTaichi » Fri Jul 05, 2013 4:59 am

extrajoseph wrote:Hi Louis,

Thank you for your further explanations, I have the same feeling that Master Gao’s sayings don’t quite fit in with Taijiquan skill. Without form or no-form (wuxing 無形) has more to do with a fighting strategy or a Buddhist philosophy (I have seen this phrase “有形有相皆是假,无形无相才是真”in the explanation to the Diamond Sutra) than with the movements of the body in Taijiquan.

Taijiquan by definition has to do with finding a balance between the Yin and the Yang in movements, between the Insubstantial and the Substantial, the Soft and the Hard, the Internal and the External, between No-mind and Mind, between No-form and Form.

Without Form there is no “Quan” (fist) to speak about, it will be too Yin to be effective. Chen Xiaowang in his “Five levels of skills in Taijiquan” wrote about how to strive to find this Yin and Yang balance:

http://www.chenjiagou.net/NetworkSchool ... SpecialID=

一阴九阳跟头棍, 


二阴八阳是散手, 


三阴七阳尤觉硬,
四阴六阳类好手, 


唯有五阴并五阳, 


阴阳不偏称妙手。

But he also said: 第五层功夫是由小圈而无圈,也就是由形归无迹的阶段 - In the fifth level of skill it went from the small circle to the no-circle, that is a stage (of training) going from form to return to no trace (of its movements) - so may be in this sense “without form” really means “without (traceable) form” 无(迹)形 and not just use the Yi 意 (formless intention) without the Xing 形 (physical form), as in Lingkong Jin (Miraculous Empty Force), which strictly speaking is against the Taijiquan principles in my point of view, and I have yet to find anyone to be able to do this to me without touching me.

What are your thoughts on this?

Regards,
XJ


Hi,
I am really interested in CXW mentioned of the fifth level skill esp. '' going from form to return to no trace of movement'' If any reader know or practice Chen style can let me know or better, ''show'' me how it is done, this ''form without trace'' I really hope I can see it. 8) . Another question is for those who know CXW or heard him mentioned it is ; Has he reached level 5th. ? I have not heard or read any mention of his generation reaching the 5th level. Those who I believed has are Hong Junsheng, Feng Zhi Qiang and Liu Cheng De.

XJ, can you clarify if you have ''yet'' to meet any master who can perform LKJ OR you have met a few of these masters and they can't move you. thks.

No dis-respect, just what to know what is and what's not.

Cheers,
UniTaichi
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Re: A Question of Translation

Postby UniTaichi » Fri Jul 05, 2013 5:29 am

Audi wrote:Hi everyone,

I do not have time at the moment to address the overall topic, but just wanted to say that I think that 刚柔要相济 means "Hard and soft should relieve/help each other." To my understanding, these sayings try to apply cosmic philosophy to the practical problems of learning Tai Chi. Also, Yin Yang theory includes not only correlation, but also causation, dependence, differentiation, and interaction. Taiji is a one of two. Wuji can be a one, but then there are no two; or it can be a two, but then there can be no one.

Also, I think before you talk in detail about Wuji, you need to decide how you believe it fits in the cosmos. In China at the time of the classics, Confucians, Daoists, and Buddhists had different views, even when on the surface they used the same language. For my practice , I take the phrase 无极而太极 (The limitless, and yet the supreme limit or non polar and yet the supreme polarity) as the most relevant.

Take care,
Audi


Hi All,

I would like to share with readers here to try my understanding/learning for size. Wuji is also Void, Emptiness. Also Stillness in a deeper sense. Wuji = 0 , Taiji = 1, Yin/Yang = 2 , Trinity =3. In the Yi Jing/ Daodejin teachings, 1 is 2, and 2 is 1 . It is Alive. It is not a dead number as in Maths. It is like one substance(A) which is make up of two (B/C) compound. So in that sense, if I said B and C is A or A is B/C . Like that. :P

IMO, it is not correct to said Yin AND Yang while explaining it in philosophical terms or discussing the Taiji or Yi Jing classics. It should be just Yin/Yang . When it become an instrument of instruction, then one can use Yin and Yang. Most can understand it better this way.

Cheers,
UniTaichi
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