Worthwhile books?

Discussion on the three big Chinese internals, Yiquan, Bajiquan, Piguazhang and other similar styles.

Re: Worthwhile books?

Postby middleway on Thu Aug 23, 2018 5:00 am

The questions/answers on enlightenment I saw don't sit right with me though - it sounds a lot like it's saying enlightenment is the goal of practice. To me turning it into a "goal" to be attained is exactly the problem that Zen is seeking to help us recognise.

Enlightenment is not something you achieve. It is the absence of something. All your life you have been going forward after something, pursuing some goal. Enlightenment is dropping all that.”
― Charlotte Joko Beck, Everyday Zen

- I'm with her ;D


And so is the book :) In it that theme is discussed alot. that we are all inherrently 'Buddhas' and that enlightenment is the revieling of that nature, not something we attain. In it Kensho is used interchangably for enlightenment which usually translates as "Seeing our Nature".

It is important to realise that the questions/answers were specifically for a student who had already outlined their goal of practice. In the book he discusses the 5 types of Zen and explains that none are more important another, but that they are simply 'appropriate' for the individual practicing them.

1) Bompu - ordinary Zen - free from any philosophic or religious content, is for anybody and everybody. It is a Zen practiced purely in the belief that it can improve both physical and mental health.
2) Gedo - Outside way - it is teachings that are non buddhist in nature but founded in external sources
3) Shojo - A focus on oneself, known as the small vehicle, this is to take oneseld to enlightenment.
4) Daijo - The Big vehicle, this is very much the Religious 'Buddhist' Zen.
5) Saijojo - This is a Lofty practice known as the 'highest vehicle'.

There are of course a few flavours of Zen, and some sects consider this a hierachy, I believe the author is from the Renzai tradition mainly with some influence from the Soto sect where the belief is that practices are simply appropriate for the indiviudal and that Bompu and Saijojo are no more lofty than each other.

In the Q&As some people are on the Bompu path some are on the Daijo path so you get a wide variety of answers. Hence why i think the book is so useful.

If it isnt your bag i completely understand :) Marmite n all that.
Last edited by middleway on Thu Aug 23, 2018 5:03 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Worthwhile books?

Postby GrahamB on Thu Aug 23, 2018 5:31 am

Ah, but you see the "5 types of Zen" are all a bit irrelevant to me.

I would contend that, as presented in the book, they all share the same idea (and it's an idea about enlightenment that is repeated throughout the book) that it is a goal - a thing - that it can be attained - whether you call that the realisation of something outside of yourself or the realisation of something inside yourself that is already there... is not the issue for me.
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Re: Worthwhile books?

Postby GrahamB on Thu Aug 23, 2018 6:14 am

Not that it matters anyway - Buddhists just take drugs these days - instant karma!

https://www.lionsroar.com/the-new-wave- ... -practice/
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Re: Worthwhile books?

Postby middleway on Thu Aug 23, 2018 7:12 am

Ah, but you see the "5 types of Zen" are all a bit irrelevant to me.

I would contend that, as presented in the book, they all share the same idea (and it's an idea about enlightenment that is repeated throughout the book) that it is a goal - a thing - that it can be attained - whether you call that the realisation of something outside of yourself or the realisation of something inside yourself that is already there... is not the issue for me.


Yes the 5 types of Zen are ultimately irrelevant ... I think even a Roshi would agree. But you know i really dont think you are contending with anything and that we infact agree, and you are voicing the point of the practices found in the book. The idea presented is that Kensho is the stripping away of things, not the gathering of things, be that realisation inside or outside. So i am really not sure where the contension lyes.

But ultimately, i am not an expert... and of course could be deluded.

It is simply book i liked on this particular subject, i also liked Alan Watts book "The Way of Zen".

An interesting topic to discuss as you say. :)
Last edited by middleway on Thu Aug 23, 2018 7:15 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Worthwhile books?

Postby middleway on Thu Aug 23, 2018 7:14 am

Not that it matters anyway - Buddhists just take drugs these days - instant karma!

https://www.lionsroar.com/the-new-wave- ... -practice/


haha - Joe Rogan and Aubrey Marcus are to blame i think.
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Re: Worthwhile books?

Postby jtan on Thu Aug 23, 2018 12:39 pm

GrahamB wrote:Not that it matters anyway - Buddhists just take drugs these days - instant karma!

https://www.lionsroar.com/the-new-wave- ... -practice/


Those people are not after a 'teaching' which is hard. They are after 'experiences' which is fun.
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Re: Worthwhile books?

Postby wiesiek on Fri Aug 24, 2018 1:29 am

I personally loved books, and collected once ,everything what I was able to read about widely speakin` >internal arts<,.
It is very interesting to know different trainings approach, another aspect/s/ of the Art, etc .
However,
before I felt in deep theory digging , had over 20 years of the tatami practice :)
so
my experience is , that you may get a lot from good book, well, even bad one isn`t wasting the time, if you know where you are .

Speakin` about "Three Pillars " - I read it when I was 25, and reread /partially/ 10 years ago...
It is /was/very good book for "beginning westerner",
now , hmm, ok., I will say it - little beat dull.

If I have to recommend Buddhist book - "Way and paths of the Buddhist" by Tenga Rinpoche , not very thick but extremely deep and dense.
Have it, study it over 30 years , and still lot to read... :o
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Re: Worthwhile books?

Postby GrahamB on Fri Aug 24, 2018 1:46 am

I think Chris is right about audio books/podcasts as being the way forward. Fuck reading :)

Steve Row put me onto this podcast recently, and it's very good if you like Buddhist books - and free!:

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/dha ... 29720?mt=2
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Re: Worthwhile books?

Postby Patrick on Fri Aug 24, 2018 3:24 am

Can´t stand the concept of enlightenment. To me it is as fishy as believing in heaven. But of course simply re-define it, and explain that people completely misunderstood it. Enlightenment is not really about enlightenment but something completely different.

I am more interested in concepts that help me to digest this reality right now and not somewhere in the future...when I may have reached enlightenment or ἀταραξία or let god into my heart or become a transhuman super machine.
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Re: Worthwhile books?

Postby Trick on Fri Aug 24, 2018 8:39 am

Remo Williams !?.....But seriously I have been thinking about the John.F.Gilbey(R.W.Smith)books, I have them in my MA book collection back in Sweden, they are simple and cool....Anything “seriously” writing about Buddhist teaching and practice to reach enlightenment I stay away from, it might be good reading(for some)but I will not try it out
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Re: Worthwhile books?

Postby Trick on Fri Aug 24, 2018 9:23 am

Some of the good books(in my collection)in my mind about East Asian martial arts especially the journey in them and life itself. Moving Zen, by C.W. Nicol. Karate-Do my way of life, by Gichin Funakoshi. There are no secrets, by Wolfe Lowenthal
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Re: Worthwhile books?

Postby charles on Fri Aug 24, 2018 9:45 am

northern_mantis wrote:To suggest it is beyond anybody to describe and instruct martial arts training through writing and images and that it is beyond anybody to understand and apply it is a bizarre assumption.


Well, to begin with, I'm discussing, specifically, the physical "internal" mechanics of Taijiquan, rather than "martial arts" in general. (The discussion has veered to Zen, but tangencies happen in discussions.)

It isn't an assumption, it is an observation based on my own experience and observing the experience of others. It is possible that I've misinterpreted my observations.

Consider all the subject matter that is far more complicated and recorded and understood in writing.


Sure, many subjects can be adequately written about and understood. Is Taijiquan one of those? How about rowing? Walking? Certainly academic subjects can be. Does that work for things that are experiential, such a the color blue, or the feeling of love or hate or "sinking qi"?

If I couldn't achieve either of these goals I would be looking to supplement my education somehow because something has gone very wrong somewhere.


Have you achieved these goals regarding Taijiquan? Have you written anything about the physical "internal" mechanics of Taijiquan? That is the subject, after all.
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Re: Worthwhile books?

Postby charles on Fri Aug 24, 2018 9:46 am

Ian C. Kuzushi wrote:Personally, the most useful role that taijiquan books (or MA books more generally) played for me was that of the muse. Often times, especially when in a glut or stuck on a plateau, I would read or reread a work and be inspired to throw myself into training. These books were often full of anecdotes, many of which were questionable, that managed to excite me even when dubious.

So, I would add the conceptual category of inspirational books as a worthwhile subset of the literature. YMMV.


I think you bring up a very good point, one I hadn't really considered. Thanks for doing so.

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Re: Worthwhile books?

Postby Trick on Mon Aug 27, 2018 8:47 am

So I read through the OP(which i should have done in the first place)...So here’s my simple little story about the “worthwhile”books and the IMA’s......Back in 1988 when in Tokyo I strolled around in a bookstore of course checking out the MA’s book section. A book that caught my eye, just the picture on the cover and the name of the book was enough for me to want it. The name of the MA the book was about I had never heard of before but sounded familiar and the cover picture of a man doing some kind of posture(walking) out in the nature/park dressed in white office shirt, suit trousers and black walking shoes stood out from all the other Gi/Hakama and black-belt wearing ones. That book was one of the main inspirations for me to kind of leave Karate behind me and take my first steps toward Chinese IMA’s - “Taikiken, the essence of Kung-Fu” by Kenichi Sawai.......When it comes to TJQ I bought Zheng manqing’s and Da Liu’s books but that’s it no more Taiji books, just Taiji teachers.
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Re: Worthwhile books?

Postby RickMatz on Tue Aug 28, 2018 6:17 am

The dictionary. All the other books are in there.
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