More gudang

Postby JerryKarin » Fri Jul 21, 2006 4:19 pm

Another thought that I had was when it says life is 'attached' by the abdomen it meant literally, as through the umbilical cord. So that the process described mentally reverses the birth process, traveling back through the abdomen, umbilical cord (warm flow), womb (fixity) and back out of the vagina into the nothing which precedes existence.


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Postby Pamela » Fri Jul 21, 2006 4:38 pm

Hm...back into the ethers through reversed process of birth...That's very interesting Jerry.
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Postby Louis Swaim » Fri Jul 21, 2006 4:48 pm

Greetings Pam,

Re: “Was that what was scribed directly in the text you translated?
Or is that your interpretation?”

The author of the Daodejing did not use any footnotes. There are, however, many commentaries on the text, and many of them interpret the xuanpinmen (door of the dark/mysterious female) as the vagina, or analogically as the operation of the female energy in the greater scheme of things.

Take care,
Louis
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Postby Pamela » Fri Jul 21, 2006 4:57 pm

Hmm...alright...Thanks for your explanations Louis.

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Postby Louis Swaim » Fri Jul 21, 2006 4:59 pm

Greetings Jerry,

Re: “Aside from the quotes, the language is modern Chinese.”

Yes, clearly this is a modern summary of neidan practice, probably Quan Zhen, so it is difficult to determine how gudang comes into the picture in this particular document.

What is important, in my opinion, is that one could make a case that gudang is an explicit reference to abdominal breathing. In that regard, it seems related to its use in the taiji context. It would be interesting to know if gudang figures in early neidan texts, and if those practices were the path by which the term found its way into taiji usage.

Take care,
Louis
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Postby Pamela » Fri Jul 21, 2006 5:07 pm

Louis,

"The author of the Daodejing did not use any footnotes. There are, however, many commentaries on the text, and many of them interpret the xuanpinmen (door of the dark/mysterious female) as the vagina, or analogically as the operation of the female energy in the greater scheme of things."

...you say, many of them...

Do any that you know of make the more simplistic reference to the "dark/mysterious/obscure female" being "yin"?

Thanks,
Pamela
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Postby Yuri Snisarenko » Fri Jul 21, 2006 7:34 pm

Greetings Louis,


// I'm pretty sure that ruding is a Buddhist term.// Ah, I didn't know that, thanks.



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Postby Yuri Snisarenko » Sat Jul 22, 2006 6:54 am

Here is the master of Wudang taiji.
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-8219692738139481210&hl=en

Approximately at min 28 he explains briefly usage of "gudang dantian zhi qi". After buffering starts click in the middle, a bit closer to the beginning.



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Postby Audi » Fri Aug 18, 2006 6:51 pm

Greetings all,

I followed this discussion with interest, because it reminded my of a translation experience I once had. I had been asked to translate a German song called the hunter. It started with the line: "Ich schwing' mein Horn ins Jammerthal."

At first impression, this line seemed to mean: "I swing my horn into the valley of misery."; however, this made no sense.
I was almost certain that German "schwing" and English "swing" had the same basic meaning and was mightily puzzled.

After searching to no avail for a solution in various dictionaries, I came upon the meanings "oscilate" and "vibrate" for "schwing." I then realized that "schwing" did not mean just "swing," but also to "set swinging or vibrating," In this context, "schwing mein Horn" meant to "sound my horn." The line meant: "I sound my horn into the vale of misery."

What amazed me about this experience was not that I could screw up a translation, but rather that expansion and contraction of a word's core meaning could so obscure connections. This experience has colored my approach to many Tai Chi terms and fueled my desire to learn some Chinese.

When I first saw the term "gudang," I understood it to mean "arouse." To me "arouse" either means to "awaken" or to "excite." I like neither concept, because I neither see my qi as "asleep" nor want to see it jumping around.

As I consider the previous posts, the core meanings of gu3 and dang4, I think I would be more comfortable with the idea of
"gudang" as "resonant." The idea would be that the qi must resonate to the feel of each posture. For me, this has a wonderful tactile impression that is both inward and outward. If I think only of "arousing" or "exciting" the qi, I lose the external orientation.

I know that some people like the word "vibrant"; but, despite the etymology, this word speaks only to my eyes and not to my sense of touch or hearing. It is all feeling and no fact.

With words like "resonate" or "reverberate," I think we get a clear sense that our sense of body has to include a particular orientation to the surroundings and configurations that is organic and automatic, not too tight, not too loose. Our immediate circumstances will constrain our choice of "notes" that the strings of our tendons can play, but we still have freedom to shape the overall melody.

Take care,
Audi
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Postby Yuri Snisarenko » Sat Aug 19, 2006 5:51 am

Audi, your example about choosing the words for the translation of the verse is really appropriate. I asked myself why they didn't just say "it should move" or "it should circulate" in those lines of the classics. Apparently, because of some particularity. Let's take a simple question – where does the movement in taiji quan originate? Is there a starting point? When I was asked about it some years ago, the more I thought about it, the more uncertain I was. In the light of this, I liked what you wrote about the similar issue:

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">This balancing may also be why issuing soft energy is somewhat different from issuing hard energy. Whenever you issue by yourself, something must always counter the energy according to Newtonian physics. With hard energy, you have to concentrate on a counter contraction. With soft energy, you can concentrate more on compensating elsewhere in your body.</font>


and

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">If you squeeze on one part of a balloon, this increases the pressure throughout and may manifest in a deformation in a distant area of the balloon. This "movement," however, does not rely feel as if it occurs in a clear time flow. It is more simultaneous. To expand power into your hands, you want first to feel it condense against your spine.</font>



Take care,
Yuri



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Postby Yuri Snisarenko » Sat Aug 19, 2006 5:58 am

Another assumption I have is that gudang probably might relate not to only one phenomenon. Or probably there are some stages of it. I thought about that because we encounter the word "gudang" in the different contexts in taiji texts and oral instructions.

Master of Wudang uses word gudang applying it to qi of dantian.

Li Yiyu has an interesting text that mentions gudang in slightly different context:

"If one wishes to attain his/her entire body being as one family, first one should attain the entire body without deficiency. To attain the entire body without deficiency, first one should attain shen-qi gudang. To attain shen-qi gudang, first one should attain rising up of jingshen (vital spirit), and keeping shen without scattering it out. To keep shen without scattering it out, first one should attain collecting qi in the bones. If one wishes attain collecting qi in the bones, one first should attain strength in two front thigh joints."

Louis, Jerry, does my translation misrepresent anything? Hope, you'll point that out to us or make your own translation. I am especially not sure what "liang gu qian jie" could mean.


the original quote:

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Postby Kalamondin » Sat Aug 19, 2006 8:33 pm

I'm not entirely convinced that the word "arouse" isn't applicable to tai chi. I generally like Audi's interpretations of resonance...but think that there are some phrases in English that could provide a theoretical link between "arouse"/"vibrate" and "resonate." How about energies "humming?"

The discussion of the feminine brought to mind the number of connections between taoist, chan, zen literature and tantric texts (according to Daniel Odier).

Consider this passage from Tantric Quest by Daniel Odier, a French scholar, recounting an oral transmission from a female tantric master in the Himalayas.

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"><B>
In Tantrism, the first thing is having the experience of touch, of profound contact with things, with the universe, without mental commotion.... When you touch deeply, you no longer need to let go, that occurs naturally. The world is to be be passed through in complete consciousness.... When you hold something with all your consciousness, like the newborn who grabs your finger, it is enough to open your hand. Why is it that the newborn has such strength? Because his whole being takes part in the movement that results in seizing your finger. In this instant he is so strong that you are in his power.

Tantrism is agreeing to live out this power. The woman possesses it naturally. For her, it's easy to experience... To be conscious of his power, a man must first come to recognize his femininity. In the same way, a woman who represses her natural power doesn't find equilibrium within herself or accept her own capacity for wonder. This is how we define the virile man in Tantrism: "He who retains the capacity for wonder."

Ecstasy, the continuous experience of the divine through knowledge of our own nature, is our natural state. The infant knows this state, enjoying it from the moment of conception. It is only under pressure from the outside, education, a bad family situation, that little by little the child loses inborm capabilities--strength, capacity for wonder, absolute self-confidence, openness to the world, the free blossoming of the heart, which it learns to fold up again and then to close tight. Returning to this childlike state is the door that reopens the heart. pp 59-60.</B></font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I was struck by the similarities between this passage and tai chi texts about regaining the capacity to breathe like a baby, the strength of an infant's grip, returning to the womb. Also, the necessity for balancing yin and yang in one's self.

I don't know how to interpret that bit about impotence, except to link it to hard and soft combined to defend against soft overcoming hard and hard overcoming soft.

Regarding the bit about ecstasy--I can't think of anything overt in the tai chi classics, but the tao de ching has more. Nonetheless, there do seem to be some correlations to my untrained eye. The admonition to smile internally when practicing. Raising up the spirit seems rather akin to raising the kundalini. The sword posture named "White tiger swings its tail" (White tigers are female daoist sexual adepts.) The general consensus that tai chi practice makes for a better sex life.

So when that passage is translated as "the qi should be aroused" or "drum up the qi," perhaps it is useful to think of it as "thrumming" or "humming" in the sense of the kind of qi arousal with which one approaches an exciting lover--senses open, alive, aware, more "awake" than normal humdrum days.
What happens when this is applied to forms practice? Image

Why should we create distinctions between qi as orgasmic, martially useful, or spiritually escstatic when they're all part of the jing-qi-shen continuum? What if drumming the qi alludes to combining them all?

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Postby Yuri Snisarenko » Sun Aug 20, 2006 5:04 am

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">
Why should we create distinctions between qi as orgasmic, martially useful, or spiritually escstatic when they're all part of the jing-qi-shen continuum?
</font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

To differentiate the stages and illuminate the steps (and the path itself). At least it's what we can see in Taoist tradition.


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