Saturday, October 18, 2008

"Cheng Man-ch'ing, Master of Five Excellences" Talk Nov. 8th

Barbara Davis, director of the Cheng Man-ch'ing Biography Project will give a talk about Professor Cheng's life and work on November 8th, 2008, at 6:30 p.m. in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Cheng Man-ch'ing's breadth and depth of accomplishment was quite remarkable, and his work, particularly in the arena of t'ai chi ch'uan, remains extremely influtential. Davis will discuss these topics as well as answer questions about Cheng and the project. She'll also preesnt a slideshow of Cheng's artwork and t'ai chi.

The talk is free and open to the public, and will be held at Sun Gallery, 4760 Grand Avenue South (near Washburn High School).

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The I Ching--The Book of Changes

The I Ching or Book of Changes (Yijing) is one of China's most ancient books. It has served for over two thousand years as a source of inspiration for China and other cultures. It has been used in statecraft, philosophy, literature, history, fortunetelling, and as a book of wisdom. As part of the Confucian canon, the I Ching was memorized by youngsters as they prepared for the civil service exams.
Though the I Ching could be very cryptic, it was brought alive through the numerous interpreters and commentators, and came to form part of the foundation for all of Chinese culture. For scholars, it was typical to ponder the book for decades, and then, late in life, pen a commentary.
Cheng Man-ch'ing followed in this tradition. In the Taipei study that he called "Thatched Hut of No Regrets" (named for a line in the I Ching) Cheng wrote his last scholarly work, a commentary that drew from the writings of Lai Chih-te (來知德,Lai Zhide), a Ming dynasty scholar. Lai, whose book I-ching Lai chu t'u-chieh (易經來註圖解, Yijing Lai zhu tujie) has been in continuous print for over four hundred years, sought to break away from what had become orthodox teachings of the neo-Confucianists.

Cheng Man-ch'ing on the I Ching:
I Ch'uan (易全,Yiquan, The Complete I). Selections translated in Cheng Man-ch'ing: Master of Five Excellences, pp.133–145 (tr. Mark Hennessy); and Cheng Man-ch'ing's Advanced T'ai-Chi Form Instructions: With Selected Writings on Meditation, the I Ching, Medicine, and the Arts, pp. 126–129 (tr. Douglas Wile).

Some books on the I Ching:
The I Ching Richard Wilhelm (classic English translation, utilizes Song dynasty commentaries)
The Zhouyi by Richard Rutt (translation built on earliest layer of text, analytical notes, historical and literary study)
Fathoming the Cosmos and Ordering the World: The Yijing (I-Ching, or Classic of Changes) and its Evolution in China by Richard J. Smith (historical study) 2008
Fortune-tellers & Philosophers: Divination in Traditional Chinese Society by Richard J. Smith (historical study)

Thursday, January 10, 2008

New Cheng Man-ch'ing Video Released

Followers of Cheng Man-ch'ing's t'ai chi school will greatly appreciate the release of Cheng Man-ching: The Master Tapes . This is a four-DVD set of material edited from footage shot in Cheng's New York school in the late 1960s. The content is grouped by form, push hands, sword, and "ch'i" (a compilation of calligraphy, flower-arranging, and informal talks about ch'i and about his own teachers).

These DVDs provide a unique glimpse into one of the first American t'ai chi studios, and give a sense of Cheng's personality and personal breadth and depth of ability in numerous fields.

New Book on Cheng Man-ch'ing

Douglas Wile's most recent contribution to study of Cheng Man-ch'ing, Zheng Manqing's Uncollected Writings on Taijiquan, Qigong and Health, with New Biographical Notes in addition to offering new, interesting translations of selected work of Cheng's and Cheng's students, draws on Wile's scholarly training by discussing such issues as the historical, geographical, and social influences on Cheng.
The taiji sections include eight essays by Cheng, and anecdotes by students. Translations of newspaper articles about Cheng give insight into how he was perceived in Taiwan.