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Thread: the "Wagon story"

  1. #1

    the "Wagon story"

    Greetings:

    Is anyone familiar with the "Wagon Story"???.......I am at a loss.
    "The truth is outside of all fixed patterns"

  2. #2
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    I haven't heard this story since I was a teen, so this may be a tad sketchy.

    The monk is crossing the road and sees a mantis in the middle of the path of an oncoming wagon.

    No matter how many times he picks the mantis up and carries it to safety, it keeps flying back to the middle of the road.

    Finally the monk must stand aside and fears that the mantis will be crushed.

    At the last moment the wheel of the wagon comes to the mantis, the mantis parries the wheel and jumps just out of the way.

    The monk was impressed and inspired.

    I don't know the Mandarin phrase but from this story comes an adage something like: "Like a Mantis against a wagon." It's something akin to a David vs Goliath story but not exactly.

    Historians Sifu Ilya or Cottrell might be able to give you a longer or more detailed version.
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  3. #3
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    Master Profatilov told me this story, it had just a little more to it though. What a great short story!

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    Courting Distruction

    List Members,

    I am certain that Shifu Profatilov knows better than I. But, I know of the proverb, Tang bi dang che. To court distruction by facing a far and obviously superior force, the mantis attempting to oppose a cart, as it were.

    In the Tanglang story, the mantis opposes but wisely evades and escapes.

    Hope it helps,

    Steve Cottrell
    www.mantisquarterly.com
    www.authentickungfu.com

  5. #5
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    SifuC, could you provide the tonal changes for that phrase?

    that's a good one for kids class.

    TIA

    matt
    "George never did wake up. And, even all that talking didn't make death any easier...at least not for us. Maybe, in the end, all you can really hope for is that your last thought is a nice one...even if it's just about the taste of a nice cold beer."

    "If you find the right balance between desperation and fear you can make people believe anything"

    "Is enlightenment even possible? Or, did I drive by it like a missed exit?"

    It's simpler than you think.

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  6. #6
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    Tones

    Oso,

    Tang2, bi4, dang3, che1.
    Tang as in Mantis
    Bi as in arm
    dang as in block or obstruct
    che as in cart or wheel

    Hope it helps,

    Steve Cottrell
    www.mantisquarterly.com
    www.authentickungfu.com

  7. #7
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    This is the little I know about this phrase.

    The phrase "tang bi dang che" was used by Taoist philosopher, Chuang-Tzu or Zhuangzi to teach about knowing one's limits. In this story, it tells of the bold mantis who brazenly opposes an oncoming cart not knowing it is incapable of such a task. He teaches that man should not be boastful in confidence of one's own excellence lest he fall to the same fate as the mantis.

    In this story, the moral implies a not very good ending to the mantis but it is in line with the Chinese view of this brave and bold insect.

    I have heard the spin off of this story where the mantis evades the cart at the last second. I think it has only been from Mantis practitioners. I wonder what the origin of that version is.

    YM

  8. #8
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    Thumbs up Tang Bi Dang Ju

    I believe it would be pronounced as Ju although the character is Che. It is after all a chariot of a lord.

    I am in agreement with Young Mantis. This is a story of Daoist moral. If memory serves, the original ending was that the lord of Chai or Lao sighed and said something to the effect that how brave is this insect. He ordered the procession to move out of the way for the mantis.

    This folklore is likely to be popular in Shandong because it used to be the feud/state of Lao. Zhuang Zi could have invented or adopted it in his teaching. Most listeners usually end up admiring the bravery of the little bug and lost sight on the big picture of the tale.

    The ancient aliases of Mantis, which are not well known, are Heavenly Horse and Resisting Axes. These terms are actually used in the Shaolin Authentics when referring to the Tanglang. It represents the “divine design”, natural law, and to a certain degree the will of the people or democratic supports. It is also a warning of civil unrests which were a reality through out the dynasties. The procession of the great lord is of course the course of progress especially that of the state or country (grand vision of the government). When confronted with the natural law and the will of the people, it is reasonable to avoid confrontation and to obey divine design. To rule with compassion, understanding, and most of all obedience while being progressive is the ideal in the eyes of the Daoist. It is the wisdom of political advisor (Daoist) to council the great lord with the best course of action wrapped in a nice story, which the intended audience is the ruler of the world but not just the government of the land. The opposition however small should be observed and treated with respect. The moral of the story is still sound in this day and age.

    The beauty of the story illustrated the skill of the story teller, whom would be the political advisor. It is subtle yet packed a power punch if listen carefully. It fore warns trouble yet appeals to the ego of the intended listener. At the same time, it sends out the powerful message of Daoist teaching that adhere strongly to natural law.

    Personally, I don’t believe it has substantial meaning when it comes to the history of Tanglangquan as a style. I am aware that certain lineage told this story as a mean to prove that TLQ is ancient (more than 1000 years old). But to each their own.

    Mantis108

    PS Tainan Mantis can provide the proof of the Aliases.
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  9. #9
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    hey, I'm getting better, those tones were my guesses.

    thanks, SifuC.

    Great addition to the history.
    "George never did wake up. And, even all that talking didn't make death any easier...at least not for us. Maybe, in the end, all you can really hope for is that your last thought is a nice one...even if it's just about the taste of a nice cold beer."

    "If you find the right balance between desperation and fear you can make people believe anything"

    "Is enlightenment even possible? Or, did I drive by it like a missed exit?"

    It's simpler than you think.

    I could be completely wrong"

  10. #10
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    Thanks

    YM and Mantis 108,

    Thank you for your willingness to share insights into the cultural aspect of the art we study. It adds a lot to our appreciation of Tanglang.

    Steve Cottrell
    www.mantisquarterly.com
    www.authentickungfu.com

  11. #11

    Smile My Thanks

    My Thanks to all in the forum who replied to my inquiry.....
    "The truth is outside of all fixed patterns"

  12. #12
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    Here is a version of the fable from Huainanzi.
    In the area of 2000 years or more ago.


    This version of the story is about Duke Zhuang of the state of Qi.

    The insect was about to fight the wheel of the carriage to which the duke asked his carriage driver, "What insect is this?"

    The driver replied, "This is called a mantis. This insect only knows how to advance and never retreats. It over estimates its own strength and under estimates its enemy."

    The duke said, "If this is a man he would be one of the bravest in the world."

    The fable continues,

    "He turned the carriage to avoid the mantis. When men of courage heard of this they realized to whom they could be loyal unto death."

    There is no Tang bi dang che in this version.

  13. #13
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    I found the Zhuang Zi version.
    It is part of the inner chapters, which is that body of material most surely from Zhang Zi himself.
    I wonder if the Zhuang zi and Huainanzi version both were based on an older, maybe lost version.

    The quote in Zhuang Zi is attributed to Chu Po Yu who was giving some advice to Yen Ho before he left to become the tutor of the Crown Prince, the son of Duke Ling of the state of Wei.

    There are several tidbits of wisdom one of which is the Mantis story.
    Others talk of tigers and horses.
    BTW, this version also does NOT contain the phrase tang bi dang che.

    I find this Zhuang Zi version (already said by Young Mantis) is not as inspiring for us PM practitioners as compared to the Huainanzi version.

  14. #14
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    To Tainan Mantis

    I found the Zhuang Zi version.
    It is part of the inner chapters, which is that body of material most surely from Zhang Zi himself.
    I wonder if the Zhuang zi and Huainanzi version both were based on an older, maybe lost version.
    My professors of Classical Chinese share the opinion that certain chapters have been omitted from the original text by scholars during the Western Han Dynasty. This is the version of Zhuangzi we know today.

    But when Prince Liu An of Huainan had his book Huainanzi compiled, the lost chapters of Zhuangzi were included in the text and were thus preserved.

    PS: Mantis108 is right, the "Che" in "Tang Bi Dang Ju" should be pronounced as "Ju".
    Last edited by Laviathan; 10-01-2004 at 09:27 AM.
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  15. #15
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    Does anyone have more specifics on the Huainantzu, and Chuangtzu? Chapters??
    Jake
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