monkey head?

Postby shugdenla » Wed Sep 26, 2007 3:13 pm

yslim,

That seems to be the context of the word despite the actual word having a literal meaning, which is not representative of its essence! Even the modern dictionary give no clue to the other aspect of understanding.
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Postby Louis Swaim » Wed Sep 26, 2007 5:00 pm

Greetings Yuen-Ming,

My dating speculation was just provisional, based on a quick look at what I'd seen so far. I am pretty well out of my depth regarding the Song family tradition; I really know nothing about it, so I welcome any light you can shed. Thanks for the additional commentary. Whose commentary is it, from what book?

As for the various interpretations of "monkey head" / "larynx," and "dixin/xindi," these all strike me as speculation with not much corroboration. I would need to see more.

Take care,
Louis
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Postby Yuen-Ming » Wed Sep 26, 2007 11:48 pm

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Louis Swaim:
<B>Greetings Yuen-Ming,

My dating speculation was just provisional, based on a quick look at what I'd seen so far. I am pretty well out of my depth regarding the Song family tradition; I really know nothing about it, so I welcome any light you can shed. Thanks for the additional commentary. Whose commentary is it, from what book?

As for the various interpretations of "monkey head" / "larynx," and "dixin/xindi," these all strike me as speculation with not much corroboration. I would need to see more.

Take care,
Louis</B></font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

The commentary is from the same author (Zhang) mentioned above, from a recent book he published in Taiwan. But as you can see he quotes Yu Huaxing and Chen Yanlin.
Those might well be personal interpretations but they can as well be part of the oral transmission.
I for one was taught the same thing wrt 'monkey head'.

The Song manual is a very important text, that has influenced the Yang and all the other lines of that time. But of course in the Yang family manual itself there is corroboration to the Song argument.
Needless to say also that the recent discoveries of Tang Village also corroborate that material, although my impression at the moment is that most of it is forged.

Yuen-Ming


[This message has been edited by Yuen-Ming (edited 09-26-2007).]

[This message has been edited by Yuen-Ming (edited 09-26-2007).]
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Postby Steveg219 » Thu Sep 27, 2007 5:11 am

Hi All,

I have no background in chinese language and this is way over my head. I am curious though how much of the intrepration and "dating" is really about the chinese cultural approach to learning and ascribing sources of knowledge versus western.

What I mean is that there seems to be a different approach to the whole subject of ascribing sources in the East versus the West. How does that factor into these types of investigations?
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Postby Louis Swaim » Thu Sep 27, 2007 5:33 pm

Greetings Steve,

You’ve asked an interesting question. In my view, the issue is not a matter of Western vs. Chinese approaches to dating and understanding sources. If we simply suspend credulity and take a body of teachings as authentic and valid without investigating and testing them, we risk becoming a cargo cult. The same risk has always been present in the West and in the East.

China has a long and rich tradition of questioning and investigating the authenticity and provenance of written texts, emerging in one form in the Ming and Qing eras as “kaozheng” (evidential research), analogous to the field of textual hermeneutics in the West.

With so-called esoteric texts and formulae, the investigation can be difficult. Like formulae from other guilds and traditions—including carpentry, brush painting, stone-cutting, sericulture—traditional taijiquan texts often contain specialized language of the trade, or obscure usages. Of course, texts that have been in the public domain for decades are no longer secret, so they are open to scrutiny. In fact, it’s kind of incumbent on later generations to inquire into their provenance and meaning. And yes, cases of forgery, back-dating, or false attribution of texts are not uncommon, so one should be alert.

As I mentioned, I know very little about Song Shuming or the small number of texts ascribed to his tradition, so all I can do is make observations and ask questions. Perhaps in the process I’ll learn something. I’ve already learned what “early treatise” the “monkey head” term comes from, thanks to Yuen-Ming. For now, I just have more questions about the who, what, when, where, and why.

Take care,
Louis
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Postby Yuen-Ming » Fri Sep 28, 2007 10:28 am

Dear Louis,

wrt to the monkey head issue I'd suggest that investigating the Song Manual more in depth might be of much help.
In the same manual there is additional reference to that same subject:

周身大用論

一要心性與意靜。自然無處不輕靈。
二要遍體氣流行。一定繼續不能停。
三要猴頭永不拋。問盡天下眾英豪。
如詢大用緣何得。表裡精粗無不到。

Best

YM
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Postby Louis Swaim » Fri Sep 28, 2007 5:51 pm

Greetings Yuen-Ming,

Yes, Shen Shou's _Taijiquan pu_ mentions the other occurance of "monkey head" in his commentary to "Xinhui yaojue." I'm pressed for time for the next few days, but will try to gather some observations and questions when I get a chance. Thank you again for the additional information.

Take care,
Louis
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Postby Louis Swaim » Sun Oct 07, 2007 8:58 pm

Greetings Yuen-Ming,

As I mentioned, my time has been limited in recent days, and I’m also constrained by scant access to sources on this Song family material, but what I have been able to look at has not helped me to gain any level of comfort about the origins and meanings of those texts. Here are some random observations and questions:

I cannot find much biographical material on Song Shuming or Yu Huaxing. Chen Yanlin included a few of the Song Shuming texts with no attribution and no commentary. The two texts including the “houtou” term are with the “throat” reading rather than “monkey head.” That’s also the way the term appears in Gu Liuxin’s/Tang Hao’s _Taijiquan Yanjiu_. When you say, “I for one was taught the same thing wrt 'monkey head'.”, it’s not clear to me what you mean. Do you mean that you were taught the “monkey head” meaning, or the “throat” meaning?

Shen Shou includes ten texts from the Song manual, with commentary, in his _Taijiquan pu_ (Renmin tiyu chubanshe, 1995). Shen seems to cast doubt on the provenance of these texts, writing that they were “presented as being the secret record of Song Shuming’s remote ancestor, Song Yuanqiao.” (Taijiquan pu, p. 228) But based on evidential research, “the taijiquan history recorded in Song’s book barely accords with historical facts. Moreover, its language is wild and nonsensical.” (ibid.) He notes that Song Shuming’s taijiquan and tuishou methodology and theory are widely acknowledged to resemble the Yang style that was current in Beijing at the time, and that the wording in his songs and formulae does not comport with the language of the Tang, Song, Yuan, or Ming eras. Shen doesn’t come right out and say the Song texts are forgeries, but he writes, “It wouldn’t be hard to judge that these writings were passed off in someone else’s name, but were most probably composed by Song Shuming himself.” (ibid.)

To revisit the terminology in the text we began this discussion with, the “monkey head” term is not clarified for me in the other text that you reference—the “Zhou shen da yong lun.” That is, the phrase, “houtou, yong bu pao” gives no clue as to whether it refers to “head” or “throat.” What would it mean? —“Never expose?/abandon? the monkey head?/throat?” The only English translations I’ve seen of these texts are Yang Jwing-ming’s, in his book, _Tai Chi Secrets of the Ancient Masters_ (YMMA, 1999). Yang presents these texts as “anonymous,” and yet translates and comments on them as though he thoroughly understands them. He translates the “Xin hui yaojue” as “The thesis of the mind comprehending,” and follows the “throat” reading of the “houtou” term. As for the “Zhou shen da yong lun,” he again reads it as “throat,” but extrapolates it as “voice”: “(You) don’t ever want to give up your throat (voice); question every talented person in heaven and earth.” I’m just lost as to how he arrived at this, or what it could possibly mean. The “xin di” term in the first text he simply translates as “mind.”: “The heart (mind) is the third master.” In my opinion, that rendering would be flawed since it does not account for the “di” in the compound “xindi.” More importantly, it would be a flawed hierarchy, with “mind” coming in third after “waist/spine” and “throat.” That would not seem to comport with taijiquan theory as I’m familiar with it.

Again, I want to make clear that my knowledge and sources are limited about this material, and you likely have access to recent findings I’ve not encountered. So far, however, I’m hard pressed to find a way to comprehend these Song documents, or how to see what bearing they have on taijiquan.

Take care,
Louis


[This message has been edited by Louis Swaim (edited 10-07-2007).]
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Postby Yuen-Ming » Mon Oct 08, 2007 1:36 am

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">I cannot find much biographical material on Song Shuming or Yu Huaxing.</font>


Dear Louis,

the main references to the manual come of course from Wu Tunan, as I said, who explains how he first received a copy of the manual from a friend in 1908. Later the Beijing group, namely most of the people later involved with Xu Yusheng's Academia, came to hear about a Song Shuming working under Yuan Shikai and after visiting him discovered he had a copy of the same treatise.
Here is how WTN explains it in his own words:

Image
Image

The text was then copied by WTN himself for those in the group, who then had access to the treatise, from where it spread to the Taiji community at large.

Yu Huaxing was a student of Yang Chengfu

Image

who published a text in 1935:

Image

and this is his reference to 'houtou'

Image

This is his own intro to the book for your reference

Image

I am well aware of Tang Hao and Shen Shou's notes to the text.
Most detractors believe that Song Shuming's Taiji was in fact an offshot of Yang Family and that's were the similarities would come from.

I don't believe, however, that a group of seven people all closely connected to the very early Yang family would not have known of Song if he was related to the Yang's and would have not understood that his Taiji was coming from the Yang's if that was the case.

More later after I get your additional comments,

Regards

YM


[This message has been edited by Yuen-Ming (edited 10-07-2007).]
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Postby JerryKarin » Mon Oct 08, 2007 4:41 am

If you google the phrase 宾辅 , you can find many commentaries on this point.
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Postby JerryKarin » Mon Oct 08, 2007 5:03 am

Just to tease it out a little, the text suggests 3 'commanders' and 3 'followers' (literally 'guests and supporters'). The 3 commanders are: 1 waist and spine, 2 monkey head/throat, 3 xin1 di4 'heart/mind ground'. (some confusion about whether it is xindi or dixin).
The 3 followers are 1 dantian, 2 palms, 3 soles of the feet.

I note that the zhou shen da yong lun is rhymed (jing ling xing ting and pao hao dao). It would be interesting to investigate the rhymes for the purpose of dating. I will take a look at those rhymes later.
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Postby Louis Swaim » Mon Oct 08, 2007 5:37 am

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by JerryKarin:
If you google the phrase 宾辅 , you can find many commentaries on this point.</font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Greetings Jerry,

Charles O. Hucker has an entry for binfu 宾辅 in his _Dictionary of Official Titles in Imperial China_:

MING: Companion, 2 appointed in the service of the Heir Apparent in the era 1398-1402, but not perpetuated.
--Hucker, #4652, p. 382

Yang Jwing-ming translates it "chancellor."

--Louis



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