Other Books

Books from Petra Kobayashi on other themes

The following titles are available as ebooks in English and German. The English titles are available through amazon.com or amazon.co.uk, the German titles through amazon.de. The printed versions of these titles will soon be available according to Amazon. When this occurs, you will find the appropriate link here.

(Each of the eBooks can be transferred onto six machines-from other owners too- readable on Kindle, PC, I Pad, I Phone and other reading equipment.)
Mysticism and Experience Mysticism and Experience
Mysticism and Experience opens an entrance into a seldom explained realm
and provides an orientation unto the spiritual path.
ISBN 13: 9-783-0003-7176-9
eBook: EUR 9,99 (see amazon for this title)
Paperback: EUR 18,50 (see amazon for this title)

Mystik und Erfahrung
Mystik und Erfahrung eröffnet einen Zugang zu einem wenig erklärten Bereich
und gibt Orientierung auf dem geistigen Weg.
ISBN 13: 9-783-0003-7179-0
eBook: EUR 9,99 (dieser Titel bei amazon)
Paperback: EUR 18,50 (dieser Titel bei amazon)

The End of the World or The Good Guys Win The End of the World or The Good Guys Win
A brief story occurring at the end of our world - looking closely at ourselves and our time
ISBN 13: 9-783-0003-7180-6
eBook: EUR 9,99 (see amazon for this title)
Paperback: EUR 18,50 (see amazon for this title)

Das Ende der Welt oder Die Guten gewinnen
Eine kleine Geschichte am Ende unserer Welt - Betrachtungen über uns selbst und unsere Zeit
ISBN 13: 9-783-0003-7178-3
eBook: EUR 9,99 (dieser Titel bei amazon)
Paperback: EUR 18,50 (dieser Titel bei amazon)

A Short Discourse about What Is A Short Discourse about What Is: Suchness and the Discovery of Reality & Questions addressed to Death, Beelzebub, Adam and Eve, God and Socrates
ISBN 13: 9-783-0003-7177-6
eBook: EUR 8,61 (see amazon for this title)
Paperback: EUR 18,50 (see amazon for this title)

Ein kleiner Diskurs zu dem was ist: Soheit und die Entdeckung der Wirklichkeit &
Fragen an den Tod, Beelzebub, Adam und Eva, Gott und Sokrates

ISBN 13: 9-783-0003-7175-2
eBook: EUR 8,61 (dieser Titel bei amazon)
Paperback: EUR 18,50 (dieser Titel bei amazon)


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Other books
The titles seem to indicate that I have turned to other topics with these publications.
They are connected with T´ai Chi Ch´uan (abbreviated T´ai Chi) and the knowledge and insights coming from it, but in the closest way. They have emerged from it. The research and practice of the Long Form 2 had a big part in it.
The following essay on T´ai Chi gives a short summary of this extraordinary art of movement. It is less about T´ai Chi as an exercise system than about what it opens up and makes accessible. Comparatively little is known about this aspect of T´ai Chi. The connection of the "other books” with T´ai Chi Ch´uan can be best understood in this way.
In a short summary, like the following, no detailed description of the addressed contents can be expected.

T´ai Chi – spirituality and naturalness

It is not easy to understand T´ai Chi. Much of what is known here from Eastern paths seems to be missing. There is no outer framework, like a monastery where students are instructed by their teacher, no forms of organization, hierarchies, not even a dress code. T´ai Chi seems to be reduced to exercises that are accessible to everyone to make use of, in order to benefit from it in many ways. Perhaps one knows of a Taoist background of T´ai Chi Ch´uan, though one could hardly define it. That T´ai Chi Ch´uan, contains T´ai Chi, the Supreme-Ultimate, in its name and that this is a synonym for the Tao, is widely unknown. Usually the Chi in its name is interpreted as Ch'i (life energy). This misunderstanding stems from the transcription from the Cantonese, the former official Chinese language. Without an apostrophe, there is a different meaning.

If one already has an idea of Taoism and knows that its exercise systems are comparable to the methods practiced in Hinduism and Buddhism, a reference exists. Like them, the Taoist exercises are mainly practiced in a sitting position. They involve breathing and mental collection, instruct the concentration on subtle energy centres and lead to spiritual experiences. One would think that T´ai Chi Ch´uan as a method is thus outlined in that it refers to the same knowledge. This is true in many ways. In T´ai Chi one should find quietness in movement, which shows a closeness to meditation practiced in sitting.

Indeed, exercise systems, whether practiced in sitting or in movement, show comparable developments and corresponding experiences and knowledge. Furthermore, practicing in movement causes its own access to the innermost realm of life and being. First of all, the access to the life energy Ch'i is to be mentioned. This energy and an associated center in the middle of the body, (Lower Tan Tien, Hara), are in the foreground of the so-called inner art of Asian self-defence. Also in the T´ai Chi Ch´uan of today, a practice oriented on this is widespread. By concentrating on this centre, an access to life energy is opened up, which results, among other things, in its use in self-defence techniques. Positive effects of T´ai Chi Ch´uan, in terms of health, are also connected with this approach. In the publications on T´ai Chi, also in our T´ai Chi books, this is often described. T´ai Chi as a method should now be fully grasped. Seen in this way, it does not seem to differ much from other Eastern exercise systems.

What makes T´ai Chi Ch´uan so meaningful then, how does it come to a name that has no reference to life energy? Why does it occupy such a prominent place among the methods from ancient China? Why is it considered unique? Does the T´ai Chi from an earlier time period differ possibly from what and how we practice today?

Could it be that the T´ai Chi practiced nowadays has the same roots, but refers to only a few, especially its more accessible aspects, like a single center or a single form of energy? Apart from the fact that such a T´ai Chi Ch´uan is also to be valued, could it be that originally a much more complex performance and thus much more knowledge and experience were connected to it?

Let's go back again to what I had mentioned at the beginning. T´ai Chi, an exercise system that seems almost intangible, is provided with an extremely meaningful name. Cheng Man-ch'ing chose, in the first book published by him and his student Robert W. Smith, the title: "T´ai Chi – The Supreme-Ultimate Exercise" (The practice of the Supreme-Ultimate). An exercise system by that name indicates a Taoist background with a corresponding orientation of its method. Nevertheless, important Taoist writings, as those of Lao Tse and Chuang Tze, are not known to be studied or recited in its classes. How can this be explained?

If we look at the Yang-Style, its teachers refer to a few short texts, the so-called classical treatises, which have been available for several centuries. They are accompanied, in the various traditions, by commentaries from well-known teachers. These are also mostly short instructions concerning the shape of the forms and their performance. They are practice-oriented, but clearly refer to Taoist values: withdrawal, letting things happen, unintentionality are examples of this. Integrated into them are instructions for a performance that emerges from within, for example: "Mind – Energy – Body". This means that the energy should be moved by the mind from which the movement of the body arises. "The millstone moves, but not its axis." A sentence that specifies a continuous movement of the torso, similar to a millstone, which behaves separately from its axis, comparable to a rod. "Seeking the straight in the curved". From the rounded movement or posture of an arm, for example, direction nevertheless comes forth. These examples alone convey that there is more to T´ai Chi than many practitioners are aware of today. In general, practitioners move energy with their bodies and not the other way round; the alignment of the forms with the millstone principle is largely lost; curved movements, even of the arms, are only contained in a limited range in today's forms.

Let us take a sentence from Fu Zhong Wen to help us build a bridge to the old T´ai Chi. Fu Zhong Wen writes in a calligraphy that he had given to Toyo and me as a gift in Shanghai at the end of the 1980s: "Harmony and naturalness in all” (see page 199, T´ai Chi Ch´uan and the 8 Directions). At that time Fu Zhong Wen had been practicing T´ai Chi for more than 70 years.

In order to reveal what this sentence means, we need knowledge of Taoism, or better of the original Taoism. This distinction is important and helpful for an understanding. As with the other religions, Taoism today is mainly associated with its later teaching constructions. The well-known teachings of the 5 elements and the Yin and Yang were not yet included in its beginnings and do not determine the T´ai Chi, as often assumed. See Yang Cheng Fu: "In reality, there is no full and empty.

The beginnings of Taoism are determined by the so-called great experiences. These are the transcending (transcendere) and the experience of the Supreme-Ultimate, the One, the Nameless (Tao). The transcending, which is also known from Buddhism, leads beyond the world of human imagination, it leads to the experience of pure mind, emptiness and nothingness. The last great experience reveals the Tao, the Supreme-Ultimate, something that is beyond all imagination.

The contents of the great experiences were considered to be something that cannot be grasped with concepts, the access was reserved for experience. The experienced was not subject to any restriction or selection as in other teachings and religions. The Tao was neither worshipped nor involved in rituals. It was not personified. Nevertheless, creation was attributed to it. What was revealed had to be something existing, something universal. In this environment precious knowledge could be preserved. Insights about the immaterial, its phenomena, energies and forces developed from the great experiences. Also the knowledge of phenomena which concern great universal connections, such as the universal middle, nothingness and emptiness comes from the great experiences. These appearances belong to the area of the indeterminable (undifferentiated). Like the Tao, they are nameable, beyond that they are not definable. They are different from the phenomena of the immaterial world. Even if the great experiences are in the background today and Taoist practices with a focus on more easily accessible immaterial phenomena prevail, the great experiences still designate the origin and center of Taoist spirituality. They say something about the great context of life and being in which the human being is involved. The great experiences do not only cause the transformation of a person and his realization in a spiritual sense, they also lead to an individual view of life and the world. The writings of Lao Tse and Chuang Tze draw from this source. They are testimonies of life and being, timeless and universal. Today they are regarded as teachings of wisdom; if you know how to read them, you will recognize their spirituality.

Nevertheless, studying and reciting scriptures cannot be in the foreground. They are an expression of what has been experienced, but it takes practice, exercising, to approach their contents and make them accessible. Since all times, the knowledge of the immaterial, its phenomena, energies and forces have been used for this purpose. T´ai Chi fits in here. Since it combines movement and quietness, its own implementation of this knowledge is given. It is handed down in its forms. What T´ai Chi is able to open up, moves within the described context of Taoist spirituality.

Harmony in all
In Taoism, harmony is considered to be inherent in the nature of life and being. The harmonisation of the human being is an ideal of the Taoist exercise systems. If one reads this, one would probably consider it good and important, but would hardly be able to assess it beyond that. Harmony has a source. Its significance goes back to the last great experience. That we perceive harmony as something standing on its own or even know about it at all, comes from the great harmony. It is a characteristic of the last great experience. Harmony in the sense of a lasting state of being is nourished by the great harmony.
If Fu Zhong Wen names harmony in his calligraphy, then this should be considered.

Naturalness in all
Let us try to fathom what is behind Fu Zhong Wen's statement of naturalness.
In the western world, nature first of all refers to the nature surrounding or visible to us. But there is also an inner nature, which is formed by the immaterial (subtle), which stands behind the outer (physical-material).
We have acquired extensive knowledge about the “outer” nature; we know little about the immaterial nature, if anything, then mainly from the spiritual teachings and religions of the East and their practices. As in Taoism, knowledge of immaterial phenomena such as the subtle centers, energies and forces is handed down there. The appearances are assigned to three major immaterial components. We know them as mind, soul and life energy. Mind and soul are phenomena with their own energies and powers. Together with the life energy they are present in humans and in general. We know of their importance for the spiritual development of humans and further spiritual experiences related to them.

Taoist exercise systems have been practiced for many centuries, if not millennia. Their methods in sitting and in movement are concerned with immaterial phenomena. They seek to use the potential they hold for the spiritual development of the human being. It is an empirical value that the known subtle centers, the mental center (in the upper part of the head), the heart center (in the area of the chest), the center of the life energy (in the middle of the body, abdomen), have a spiritual disposition. Not only the centers themselves, but also the context in which they are located and the effects that emanate from them indicate a spiritual disposition. To see nature and spirituality in coherence is therefore obvious. In the spiritual paths we refer to these conditions, but it is not the human being who brings spirituality into the world.

The further spiritual experience leads into the innermost part of life and being, the clearer it becomes that immaterial phenomena are natural phenomena. This aspect is obscured by the integration of immaterial appearances into the many teachings and religions. With different names, they seem to be different phenomena - but they are the same. Even though a similar approach can be seen in Taoism, where phenomena are named and integrated into practices, its systems of practice focus on the orientation towards human nature, natural conditions, natural behaviour and events in the immaterial and physical-material world. The value of this orientation is often misjudged. An alignment with the natural seems to lack spirituality. But it is precisely this orientation that can do it justice and can lead those who practice it far.

What place does T´ai Chi take here?
The fact that T´ai Chi is oriented towards the nature of humans, life and being was a topic in our lessons with Dr. Chiang Tao Chi and Fu Zhong Wen. This orientation is given in many methods and practices. However, individual immaterial phenomena are usually in the foreground there. Fascinating developments are linked to this.

To be unique, more must be given. To include existing knowledge in one way or another is not enough. Knowledge must be comprehensively integrated, it needs an own approach.

To illustrate this, let us take a look at the three main aspects of T´ai Chi Ch´uan: health, self-defence and meditation.
They all have the same importance, the three aspects form a whole. Health contributes to self-defence and meditation. Self-defence serves health and promotes a meditative state of mind. Meditation benefits health and the art of self-defence. Each individual aspect is integrated into the whole and contributes to the other. An approach that corresponds to the Taoist understanding of the whole – a universal principle that stands for integration and interconnectedness of each individual, without leaving anything out.

Even though it may be difficult to understand, this principle is inalienable for T´ai Chi. Every detail in the connection of physical-material and immaterial has this orientation. Each detail promotes the others.
And, in fact it is so, that this maxim still accounts for a large part of the fascination that Tai Chi holds today, even though it is missing accurate implementation.

It becomes clear that such a claim in the design of a method can only be realized if profound knowledge of the inner and outer nature, as well as, the integration of the human being into the great context of life and being is given – knowledge that in many ways comes from the great experiences. And even more is presupposed, the principle of the whole must correspond to real behaviour and events. It must be laid out in life and being, it must be universal. Otherwise there would be no access to it and no exercise system that could meet such a challenge.

An exercise with these guidelines appears to be extremely complex, an exercising hardly realizable. However, it is only a matter of creating a natural state – the inherent nature of the human being, that is spiritual. Once a detail has found and taken its original place, this contributes to the unfolding of the whole. The more that comes to its place, the more present the inner nature is. The immaterial unfolds its effects. It is synonymous with an awakening that seizes the whole human being. Such an approach is an important aspect in regard to becoming one with the Tao. The great experiences are not linked to the opening of a single subtle center, they capture the whole person. The integration of physical-material and immaterial opens the gate to the undifferentiated.
These connections can be closely understood by the inner performance as we practice it in the Long Form 2.

Such an exercise contains a path of experience within itself. If an original performance is given, one perceives the form like a key. It opens up ancient knowledge of the human being and his integration into the great connection of life and being. The principles of simultaneity and contra-direction, in connection with body movement and energy flow, open up an access to the legitimacies of the immaterial. They reveal behaviour beyond space and time. Orientation in an otherwise hardly accessible area is given. It promotes the spiritual path in many ways – an approach that still concerns only what exists and is generally valid.

An orientation towards the nature of humans, life and being is a strict requirement. In the Taoist sense, it does not represent or create anything of its own. The greatness of T´ai Chi is based on this. If one knows about it, a word that has been handed down in T´ai Chi for a long time finds explanation: Even a small change leads off the path. This sentence is used in the T´ai Chi-world with regard to deviations from any form. But it has to do with the essence of T´ai Chi and its orientation. If one considers these presentations, the importance of nature in Taoism can be measured, at least to some extent. When Fu Zhong Wen in his calligraphy calls harmony and naturalness in everything, he is referring to an understanding of nature that encompasses life and being and contains spirituality in itself.

Let us go back once more to the aspect of naturalness.
In the spiritual paths, the following is often discussed: Does the framework of a method need to be burst apart in order to reach the ultimate? The discussion says something about the perception of methods and practices. They are perceived in the sense of a framework that includes development but also limitation. Is the reference of T´ai Chi to naturalness possibly also a framework that needs to be broken up?

The uniqueness of T´ai Chi is, however, given precisely by the fact that it does not restrict. Just as its method is oriented towards naturalness in everything, T´ai Chi is fundamentally connected to it. This applies equally to its three aspects. The question of a framework and of going beyond it does not arise.

In its reference to naturalness, the original Taoism stands for the suchness (essence) of what is experienced – it is as it is. In this it is close to mysticism. Mystical testimonies portray contents and values of the experienced in its naturalness and general validity. They do not set up concepts. Teachings and religions may introduce these contents and values into their teaching structures, but at the same time the contents stand for themselves, as they are.

This explains why practitioners of a classical T´ai Chi, which is obviously located in the heart of the original Taoism, rarely use the word Taoism and find its mentioning almost dispensable. One would not even want to call oneself a Taoist. More than calling oneself a practitioner of T´ai Chi does not have to be said. This background also suggests that external determinations, such as modes of organization in T´ai Chi, are missing.

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About the other books
If one considers these explanations, one can see that the practice of T´ai Chi provides various accesses. Through opening and refinement of perception, the realm of the immaterial becomes accessible. The connection between inner and outer nature steps forth; the understanding of the outer nature expands. If orientation is given in these areas, immaterial phenomena and connections become apparent, as it were. They become presentable. If one puts them down in writing, it resembles a report. Just as the phenomena and their effects are natural appearances, the depiction must remain there. An integration into models of concepts is left out. One's own ideas are not in demand. The natural itself is given a voice.
This way of representation characterizes the "other books". One should be aware of this, otherwise one might have expectations that these books cannot fulfil. T´ai Chi is not an issue there.

In the text on mysticism (Mysticism and Experience) the spiritual experiences have found a presentation. In the text (A Journey to the Human Being) the human being is looked at starting from the period of standing upright. The contradictory behaviour of humans, in general and especially in our time, is explored. The text (Suchness and the Discovery of Reality) is based on the same approach to the immaterial. It shows a different image of the human being, life and the world than is generally familiar. In the last two books mentioned there is a text in dialogue form. The dialogues were initially published as individual titles.

1) Mysticism and Experience (2012)
2) The dialogues "The End of the World or the Good Guys Win" (2011) were extended with the text "A Journey to the Human Being" (2016/ 2020).
3) "A Short Discourse about What is" contains the dialogues "Questions to Death, Beelzebub, Adam and Eve, God and Socrates" (2011). The text " Suchness and the Discovery of Reality (2018/ 2020) was added to them.