The Jade Toad Immortal on the Tao De Jing
These translations of the Scripture on Tao and Virtue by Lao Zi (道 德 經 著 老 子) include the rare commentary by Taoist Immortal Bai Yuchan (白 玉 蟾, 1194–1229), more popularly called the Jade Toad Immortal. Bai Yuchan was the fifth patriarch of the Southern School of Internal Alchemy. Even though he only lived to age thirty-three, he was one of Taoist history’s most prolific writers, and is most well known for his discourses on Thunder Rites (雷 禮, Lei Li). The following text presents Bai’s insightful commentaries inserted within the Tao De Jing text. Bracketed text is mine. A chapter of Bai’s work will appear in each monthly newsletter until the entire book is ready for publication. Although there have been many excellent English translations published on the Tao De Jing, Bai’s commentaries give a fresh outlook on the inner meaning of this incredible work by Lao Zi, so it’s worthwhile to begin presenting Bai Yuchan’s interpretations to Taoist English readers.
Scripture on the Way and Virtue, Chapter 3
With Bai Yuchan’s Commentary
The People At-Ease
Exalt not the worthy (from youth one becomes an elder, and if becoming a minister one should be loyal and honest), so that the people will not contend with each other (when eating to fullness one should not consider eating again). Do not value the rare treasure (yellow gold and soil should have the same value), so that people will not steal (as you wish others to do and nothing more). Do not exhibit objects that are desirable (between the eyes and ears dwells the True Mind), so that their minds will not be distracted (departing invites returning).
Therefore, when the Sage rules (how much is his light divided?), he empties people’s minds (this is correct) and fills their stomachs (like a full moon). Lessens their ambitions (like a half moon in waxing) and strengthens their bones (like a half moon waning). He always keeps his people in no-knowledge and no-desire (like a new moon), so those of no-knowledge (full moon) will not dare to act (how much then can his light be divided?). Acting through non-action (like a new moon), he leaves nothing in disorder (this is correct way).
Bai Yuchan’s Original Chinese Text
Secrets of Taijiquan
In 1919, Master Xu Yusheng (許 禹 生), an early student of the Yang family, published an incredibly informative and simply titled book, Taijiquan (太 極 拳), one of the earliest literary records on the practice. Master Xu’s work appeared nearly twenty years prior to publications released by Chen Kung and the Yang family.
A portion of Master Xu’s book deals with the actual meanings of the Taijiquan posture names. He did this because the posture names during his time were just handed down verbally, and many pugilists were illiterate. Therefore, depending on the dialect and tones uttered by the teacher, the true meaning of a posture‘s name and use could be misunderstood by students. Master Xu then wrote a record to ensure that the posture names tallied with the actual posture and application.
Photograph is of Master Yang Chengfu and the drawing is from Chen Kung’s work.
Follow to Seal, Carry to Close
如 封 似 閉
Ru Feng Si Bi
Alternate Translations: Withdraw and Push and Apparent Closure
This posture makes use of two intrinsic energies (勁, jin), Sealing and Closing. Sealing (封, Feng) is in the action of sweeping and pulling the opponent’s striking arm over and across their body, and Closing (閉, Bi) is the action of bringing their arm into their body, thus Sealing and Closing. This posture can appear to look like Pushing (按, An) but differs in that the opponent is toppled over to the side, not sent upwards and back as in the Pushing posture application.
From the previous posture, the right fist is opened and positioned palm up, the left forearm and palm are turned upwards, as if thrusting forward. The waist is then drawn back with the weight in the rear leg and the fingers of both hands turn to point to the front and are shoulder width apart. The body then shifts the weight to the front leg and performs a pushing movement to the opponent’s body, with the mind-intention that the left hand pushes on the backside of the opponents upper arm and the right hand is attached to the opponent’s wrist.
Logic of the Book of Changes
On Saturday, May 26th, Stuart will be showing how the sequence of the 64 Hexagrams of the I Ching (Book of Changes) was arranged through the manipulation of the circular arrangements of the Before Heaven Eight Trigram Images with the After Heaven Eight Trigram Images.
The class will be taught at Stuart’s home in Phoenix, AZ, and only 10 people will be permitted in the class (sorry no room for more). The class fee is $240 and must be paid in advance to reserve your place, so the sooner you register the better your chances are of being able to attend. An email notice will be sent out and posted on the Sanctuary of Tao website when the class is full, and fees will be returned to those we receive beyond 10 people. First come, first served.
Class hours are from 9:00 a.m. to noon, and 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Tea and snacks will be available throughout the day, but students are responsible for their own lunch.
Each student will receive a working Eight Diagram wheel for the class. This class will not be filmed and no recording devices will be allowed.
This is a long awaited and requested class by many students, so Register Now!
Tai Ji Quan Shi Yong Fa: Practical Use Methods of Taijiquan
A Commemorative Book for a Combined Assembly of Yang Family Taijiquan Lineage Holders (Chinese Text Only)
Authored by Yang Chengfu, Compiled and Edited by Liang Hancao and Han Zhengsheng
Collector Edition (Chinese language only)
This Chinese reproduction by Valley Spirits Arts comes from an original work on the Practical Use Methods of Tai Ji Quan. This commemorative book was originally compiled by a combined assembly of Yang Family Taijiquan lineage holders who held a conference during the third month of 1953 at the Grand Hotel in Taipei, Taiwan. The book contains many photos of the event as well as 102 photographs of Yang Chengfu performing the Yang Family Taijiquan postures, eight photos of the two main sets of Taijiquan Pushing Hands, thirty-seven photos of Yang Chengfu performing Taijiquan applications, and fourteen photos of the Taiji Spear two-person set (featuring Master Chen Weiming). The book also contains many original Yang Family writings, lineage charts and photos of teachers and biographies of Yang Family members and disciples (Chinese text only).
佛 家 印 手 圖 法, Fo Jia Yin Shou Tu Fa: Buddhism — Illustrated Mudra (Hand Seal) Methods
Chinese Text Only
A Sourcebook of Hindu, Buddhist, and Taoist Spiritual Hand Gestures
This very rare book presents 376 images of mudras (印 手, Yin Shou, literally “Hand Seals”), showing the most complete depictions of this art ever published. These symbolic hand gestures were used for centuries in Hindu and Buddhist ceremonies, and some were later borrowed by Taoists as well, such as seen in Yu the Great’s finger manipulation ritual and in Taoist chanting (such as the eight hand gestures used with the Eight Great Chants. See Taoist Chanting & Recitation: At-Home Cultivator’s Practice Guide).
Special Events in April
March 31—Auspicious Day (New Moon). Founding Ancestor Lao Zi’s Birthday (see March Newsletter).
April 4—Golden Immortaless Guan Yin’s Birthday. This is the bodhisattva (enlightened being) Guan Shi Yin, who in Taoism is called Vessel of Compassion True Person (慈航真人, Ci Hang Zhen Ren). In Taoism she is considered the embodiment of compassion.
April 5th—Qing Ming Festival Day (清 明 節, Qing Ming Jie). Qing Ming means “Pure Brightness.” The festival usually falls around April 5th each year and takes place over a three-day period. It is a day for outings to celebrate the blossoming of spring, visiting and sweeping the grave sites of your ancestors, and for flying kites.
Flying Kites on Qing Ming
Cleaning the Grave Site and Honoring Ancestors
April 15—Auspicious Day (Full Moon)
April 18—Immortal’s Peach Celebration Day. Peaches are a symbolic of immortality, i.e., the peach of immortality as presented in the tales of Western Royal Mother who grows these peaches and bestows them upon deserving mortals. On this day people display images of and set out real peaches around the home and eat rice buns colored to look like peaches, in honor of all immortals and especially to the God of Longevity (one of the Three Star Gods).