philosophy, Eastern philosophy
These are various snippets I pulled from books, articles, and other sources. They are typically Eastern philosophy flavored.
Literally: the way = the way of the natural world
Fearing that nobody would understand, they [the Buddhas] selected the name ‘Way.’ You must not allow this name to lead you into forming a mental concept of a road.
“The Vitality of the Tao”
Tao is the natural law by which the universe operates.
The “flow of life”
the way, course, or flow of nature; the processes of growth; to work hidden and unknown
The regularity of the Universe is unceasing.
The Universe is the great Sower. The seeds are sown everywhere, indiscriminately, impartially.
maker and transformer
A single principle.
Tao is one, Tao is One Whole, there can be no discord within Tao. Duality is for that.
the orderly process or pattern of change itself
Tao = the random rotation that responds to things inexhaustibly.
Tao = laws of unfailing regularity
All things come from the Tao, contain qi, and are propelled by yin and yang (natural tension). These are the forces of the universe.
Do not judge, but accept everything as part of the intrinsic flow of life and act accordingly.
going with the grain; swimming with the current; catch the Cosmic Wave
flowing = purposeless wandering
cooperate with the natural flow of change
They did not try, by their own contriving, to help the Tao along.
The cyclic nature of ceaseless motion and change are essential properties of things, the intrinsically dynamic nature of the universe.
The action and motion of the Tao is the “return to the source.”
This is the source where we were from and, very likely, where we are going to return to.
Coming and going; expansion and contraction.
In a way, it is our past and future.
Going farther from the source means longer to return.
Returning to the fundamental principle.
Blunt the sharp; untangle the knots; turn back to the source
When aligned with the Tao, life becomes so much easier.
To attribute purpose to the Dao is to give it a human trait, and that Chuang Tzu did not do. The Confucians did.
If I receive heavenly nourishment, what need have I for anything of man’s devising?
The way of your life over the past 10 years informs the way for the next 10 years.
Got off the wheel, lived a life in harmony. Rather than create conflict and imbalance in the Tao—the immortals are out of that. They stopped playing that game.
Fish breed and grow in the water; man develops in the Tao.
Only that which has no dualism has no origins, and so may be considered absolute. The Taoists call this absoluteness emptiness.
Taoists even see the space between heaven and earth as a great metaphysical bellows: the supreme emptiness through which Tao flows. Heaven represents the male, and earth represents the female, and their interplay is the movement of emptiness. The Tao itself moves back and forth between heaven and earth, going in and out between the nothingness of nonbeing and our world of existence.
Once the Tao manifests it is characterized by relativity and interdependence.
Big events are rare while every day proceedings take place constantly.
What thoughts come to mind from the phrase: “living my life?”
Are they in terms of external actions and relationships?
Meeting people, doing something?
Simple things like reading, doing the dishes, and watching a DVD?
Or more complex things like vacations, trips, and purchasing items?
The weather DOES affect my mood, and no self-help guru telling me otherwise is going to fix that. That just makes it worse.
don't fail because we try to change things, but because we want to
stop them from changing. What little adjustments we do to the world,
we don't want undone.
Mushin — 'Mushin' in Japanese and 'Wuxin' in Chinese (無心 "no mind") is a mental state. The term is shortened from mushin no shin (無心の心), a Zen expression meaning the mind without mind and is also referred to as the state of "no-mindness". That is, a mind not fixed or occupied by thought or emotion and thus open to everything. It is translated by D.T. Suzuki as "being free from mind-attachment".
I’ve known mushin when driving a boat, even when driving a vehicle in rough terrain.
Chuang Tzu advocated total secularization, i.e. removal of religious attitudes and activities.
Therefore, all things come from the Tao, contain qi and are propelled by yin and yang (natural tension). These are the forces of the universe.
Tao ultimately manifests itself only outside society.
Universal, creative principle. Has no personality (unlike God). To Laotzu, the Tao is the universal and eternal principle which forms and conditions everything; it is that intangible cosmic influence which harmonizes all things and brings them to fruition; it is the norm and standard of truth and morality.
Personality – ever-changing mental constructions and events. One chooses features, more or less constant, and when they manifest one feels a person is “being himself/herself.”
"The Tao of Heaven operates mysteriously and secretly ; it has no fixed shape; it follows no definite rules; it is so great that you can never come to the end of it, it is so deep that you can never fathom it." — The Huai Nau
The term xuanfeng, “mysterious wind,” is a euphemism for the Way.
“Vehicle” is the Sage’s metaphor for the Way.
two vehicles of great and small
The One Vehicle
‘There is only the one buddha vehicle and no other vehicle’
You don’t cultivate the Way; you recognize it; you accept it.
Though not apart from our world, it cannot be influence by the worldly stream; it is self-possessed and sovereign, which is the reason why it clearly perceives. Its own nature is formless and basically undifferentiated.
Yin and yang are two poles that set limits for the cycles of change.
Do not oppose these complementary opposites. They aren’t in opposition. They are in cahoots—two sides of the same coin. Understanding this, you can bring balance and harmony to situations.
Yin and yang cosmology dates back to the Shang dynasty (approx. 1600—1100 bce).
Yin (shady) is the passive, negative, dark force. Yin elements include darkness, water, wind, and the earth. Tiger.
Receiving, night, cool, feminine, gentle, open to things, troughs of a wave.
Night, Dark, Rain, Water, Cold, Winter, Autumn, Odd Numbers, The Moon, North, West, Right, Down, Intuition, Passive, Static, Contraction, Decreasing, Conservative, Traditional, Valley, River, Curve, Soft, Solidifying, Psychological, Astral World, Tiger, Kidneys, Heart, Liver, Lungs
Intimacy, detail, finesse
Yang (bright) the active, positive, bright force. Yang elements include light, fire, rain, and the heavens. Dragon.
Novelty, passion, growth.
Active, dominant, warmer, hotter, masculine, projecting, crests of a wave.
Day, Light, Fire, Heat, Summer, Spring, Even Numbers, The Sun, South, East, Left, Up, Intellect, Active, Dynamic, Expansion, Increasing, Innovative, Reformative, Mountain, Desert, Straight Line, Hard, Dissolving, Physical, Visible World, Dragon, Bladder, Intestines, Skin
The black/white dot indicate the possibility of transformation. Just when things seems secure, the unknown can loom unexpectedly and large.
Everything contains its opposite. This is not all that different from Watt's “drama model” of the universe, hide and seek, polar opposites.
Night and day are not opposite each other; but rather they are part of a bigger process, a cycle.
Yin and yang intermingle and co-create each other. To sustain one, you must sustain the other.
Yin and yang mean relativity; the attainment of the one does not involve the annihilation of the other
Yin and yang have a discernible order to the alternation between the two. Yin and yang alternate in cycles.
Yin and yang can never be in balance. Sometimes they blend; sometimes they oppose each other; but they are never completely equal. That would be stasis, and Taoists do not observe stasis anywhere in the universe. This bit that is off center, out of balance produces the tension that allows for the ongoing movement of things.
Do not hurry to the high points in life. What has reached its high point must descend.
But yielding is only a single term. If one understands the concept of yin and yang, how can there be yielding without assertion? One cannot be yielding forever.
There must be a balance of energy. Stagnant qi means you will get sick. Running yourself ragged will also get you sick.
You cannot come toward this from a position of lack.
The various features of a situation “arise mutually,” i.e. they imply one another, as chickens imply eggs (and vice versa).
hsiang sheng = mutual arising or inseparability
Whenever you want to achieve something, you should start with the opposite first.
yin/yang = residue of things
If a man wants anything, he must admit something of the opposite.
divided, but no separation (in regard to the Two, or duality)
Not alternatives but correlatives
Virtue or power, not through force or interfering with the natural order of things. Te implies a trust and belief in one’s own inner nature and the interconnectedness of all life. The idea of Te is that of power exercised without the use of force and without inappropriate interference in the existing order of things.
characteristics, features of the Tao
the inner and outer power bestowed on each being by Tao, or all the qualities for action inherent in the nature of each being, which gives each being a way to maintain itself, to grow and flourish.
Tao's energy or the qualities or nature received by every living being or thing from Tao.
The realization or expression of the Tao in actual living
To the degree that an individual behaves according to the Tao, the power (Te) grows within him.
Virtue (Te) is harmony and the Way (Tao) is principle
animating energy behind the framework of the Tao
inherent character, inner power, integrity
The moral weight of a person—positive or negative. In short, what you are.
A way to do things well; it entails a kind of power
Virtue like the healing virtues of a plant
Spontaneous virtue which cannot be cultivated or imitated by any deliberate method
includes the meaning of vitality, of virility, of beauty and the harmony that we think of as that part of life that is abounding and joyous.
shape, power → the motive energy for putting something out there
The motivation, the creative energy, to take the inside and put it out
You have to put out your sail (your inner nature) to catch the wind.
Shedding what is not honest or true to me.
The picture in your mind—put it out there, it’s already happened in an infinite universe. You will find it through the law of attraction—that’s the Te. You have to see and feel it as already happening. Then it manifests.
The greater good comes to those who contribute to the greater good.
Virtue (Te) or moral power was conferred by heaven. It could persuade others and transform the world. Order and morality went hand in hand.
Because a true king rules through the gradual transformative power of De -, “Virtue,” rather than through harsh laws and punishments, which may achieve more immediate—but short-lived—results.
Although the term is often translated in English as “virtue,” de is not simply a desirable human trait or quality, such as goodness. The term is etymologically linked to and homophonous with the verb De, meaning “to get,” “to grab,” or “to take hold of.” One’s de is therefore a charismatic power that influences others as if by grabbing them and eliciting a response or a change of mind and heart.
Daoists too embraced a related but distinctive sense of De, describing it in terms of the natural therapeutic effect Daoist sages have upon the people, creatures and things within their presence.
Related to Entelechy? “The realization of potential.”
The supposed vital principle that guides the development and functioning of an organism or other system or organization.
in philosophy, that which realizes or makes actual what is otherwise merely potential.
Translated as “emptiness” in the Taoist practice. (See Shunyata & Kung for “emptiness” in the Buddhist practice.)
nonbeing, nonexistence (void)
Lao Tzu uses the hub of a wheel to render the meaning of Wu (emptiness)
bellows are the very idea of emptiness put to practical use
emptiness, pure, clear, anything can pass through it
The Wu transcends events and qualities; it has not shape or time. As a result, it cannot be the object of ordinary knowledge.
The reality that all things are impermanent and without independent, fixed existence is referred to as emptiness.
“. . . the uses of space—the empty page upon which words can be written, the empty jar into which liquid can be poured, the empty window through which light can be admitted, and the empty pipe through which water can flow. Obviously the value of emptiness lies in the movements it permits or in the substance which it mediates and contains. But the emptiness must come first.”
(Chinese, literally “non-doing”) is an important concept of Taoism and means natural action, or in other words, action that does not involve struggle or excessive effort. Wu wei is the cultivation of a mental state in which our actions are quite effortlessly in alignment with the flow of life.
But note: wu wei isn’t an end-all ideal. Per Huainanzi, “Action and inaction are opposite, but they can both be used to preserve nations. This is what is called reaching the same goal by different roads.”
action that is spontaneous and effortless
not to act for the sake of anything, motiveless action
“the time to act is when there is nothing yet to do.”
Wu Wei does NOT mean “doing nothing.”
No effort is wasted; effortless natural efficiency
Nothing is done that is against nature
the mode of action of the Tao; nonstriving; growing/non-making
actions without reverberations
Wu-wei is the emptiness that accomplishes; characterizes the movement of Tao
be quiet and watchful to both our inner voices and to the voices of our environment in a non-threatening way
But if you try to eliminate environment without first putting a stop to conceptual thought, you will not succeed, but merely increase its power to disturb you.
The world is ruled by letting things take their course
Stillness preserves us for action when necessary.
Appreciate that if you don’t get something, you are ready for what comes next.
It isn’t inertia, laziness, laissez-faire, or mere passivity.
Alan Watts suggests: not forcing, meddling, or artifice
No calculated action, nothing but spontaneous actions required to meet the demands of the passing moment.
It means going with the grain, rolling with the punches, swimming with the current, trimming the sails to the wind.
If it isn’t meant to be—don’t force it.
Letting the stream do the heavy lifting. Non-resistant.
A busy, industrious attitude doesn’t always reward you.
Life is not about struggling, but we’ve defined it as such.
Pushing yourself to extremes will exhaust your energy and power. The secret to happiness is "to know when you have enough. To know when to stop is to be preserved from perils." To avoid troubles and problems involves the muting of desire, the blunting of excess.
Non-action can be a power move, when it’s deliberate.
Wu wei shows that when we stop making waves, and learn to wait and watch, we see outside forces more clearly and make wiser moves. Act hastily, and every step is a potential blunder, with emotion and ego driving our decisions more than reason.
If we try to improve the world, we are sure to damage it.
Enjoy the voyage that the Way offers.
The hills go on being green and the waters go on flowing just to please themselves.
Flow with your moods rather than control them
When you’re self-conscious, you’re not in the flow. Being self-conscious is different from being self-aware.
Not forcing or grasping one's way through life, but instead living life spontaneously, in harmony with the natural order of things.
People of this world are deluded. They're always longing for something-always, in a word, seeking.
Where there is purpose there is seeking and grasping for results.
Transitoriness is depressing only to the mind which insists upon trying to grasp.
Most things in the world correct themselves, given enough time.
Not to interfere; let everything be free to be just as it is. Do not separate yourself from the world and try to order it around.
Act without acting
Patient, gently waiting for the inevitable.
If what he has is insufficient, he seeks what he needs, competing in all quarters without considering himself greedy. If he has an excess, he will decline any more, rejecting all under heaven without considering himself incorrupt.
What stands in your way is that you have a much too willful will. You believe that what you do not do yourself does not happen.
When circumstances are ripe, action requires little or not effort on your part.
The timely application of proper actions.
Taoism criticized the Chinese feudal society and taught that an ideal ruler is one who governs with wu wei (non-interference).
The Tao “grows” the universe by not-making (wu-wei). The natural universe works mainly according to principles of growth.
. . . still wandering about in ignorance of the laws of their being, which govern them even while they wander in ignorance.
If you will all possible things, what is impossible?
We certainly all have met people who are thoughtless, who never think before they act, who, in fact, barely have a notion of what is going on at all. Yet this is not wu-wei; it is confusion, ignorance, and abdication of involvement. —Deng Ming-Dao
In one context, it can be likened to “muscle memory,” i.e. the novice practices until they get it right, the master practices until they can’t get it wrong.
Like trying to remember something, it’s on the tip of your tongue, but when you struggle to remember, you cannot. When you are in the flow, the memory comes to you naturally.
. . . to hold one's self in such a restrained and receptive manner that the Tao may find one a suitable and conforming channel for its purpose.
Should action be required of him, he desires that it be appropriate, and only as a result of there being no alternative. The type who act only when there is no alternative is on the Way of the sages.
Not pushing or insistent, but not negligent. If a cup is mostly full, you don’t need to use a firehose to fill it the rest of the way. Do not force, but sometimes give it a nudge.
But don’t let the environment batter you around.
Hsin — often mind or heart
Wu-Hsin = “no-mind,” un-self-conscious
It is a state of wholeness in which the mind functions freely and easily, without the sensation of a second mind or ego standing over it with a club.
The true mind is “no mind”; hsin works properly as if it is not present.
Not in the conscious thinking process; not in the ego
Wu-hsin is action on any level whatsoever, physical or psychic, without trying at the same moment to observe and check the action from outside. Zen often seems to take the side of action as against reflection, and describes itself as “no-mind” or “no-thought.”
no-thought or, better, “no second thought”
Wu-Nien is empty thought or the thinking of non-thinking; and Wu-Hsin is empty mind or the mind of no-mind.
Uncarved block (unworked block of wood)
things in their natural state; inherent quality
still, calm, reflecting, mirror mind
a symbol of pure, untouched simplicity
Monkey mind—chattering away—that’s your ego.
Trying to convince others that you are right satisfies your ego.
A being of great potential is limited more by ego than by reality.
Feeling slighted is ego, too.
Destroyed any preoccupation with oneself and the fluctuations of mood.
Purposeless and egoless = detached from my opponent and self
Narrowed, serial consciousness, the memory—stored stream of impressions, is the means by which we have the sense of ego.
I = confined center of attentiveness
People think that to find Enlightenment they have to do something
about it, i.e., to make themselves different or worthy of it. But
this is false pride, because Enlightenment is not a reward which one
can get. It is something we have in spite of ourselves. We long for
the heights of spirituality, but “Tao is like water in that it
seeks the lowly level which men abhor.” In other words, it is
so simple that it is complicated, because we think something so great
ought to be complicated.
The state of unconditioned being.
Just waking up, out of our collective dream.
a tacit understanding — not sought, but found
The Enlightened man is capable of perceiving both unity and multiplicity without the least contradiction between them.
Electronic devices and media put us in a trance state. These devices have very little with who we are.
Awakening shows the shackles, the cage. And you have the key.
Awakening will not come to pass when one is trying to escape or change the everyday world of form, or to get away from the particular experience in which one finds oneself in this moment.
Can no longer be manipulated—and you do not wish to manipulate others.
The human situation is seen for what it is — a quenching of thirst with salt water, a pursuit of goals which simply require the pursuit of other goals, a clutching of objects which the swift course of time renders as insubstantial.
A total clarity and presence of mind, actively passive, wherein events come and go like reflections in a mirror: nothing is reflected except what is.
In Zen there is always the feeling that awakening is something quite natural, something startlingly obvious, which may occur at any moment.
At the bottom of great doubt lies great enlightenment . . . . A full measure of doubt will become a full measure of enlightenment. — Kao-feng
The practice of turning the mind towards and striving to pierce the veils of sensory perception and conceptual thought in order to arrive at an intuitive perception of reality.
Awakening is to know what reality is not. It is to cease identifying oneself with any object of knowledge whatsoever.
Merit, however excellent in itself, has nothing to do with Enlightenment.
Without illusion how could there be enlightenment?
The more spoken of “enlightenment,” the more it is reified and obscured.
Naturally, the realization of
Enlightenment is accompanied by an enormous sense of relief —
not because we have acquired something new, but because we have got
rid of something old.
blowing out of the flame of self, which is a personal route to bliss
The deliberate cessation of the activity (turnings) of the mind.
These “turnings” are the thoughts whereby the mind endeavors to grasp the world and itself.
“. . . raise the mind to be free from the various changes in the world . . .”
No thought of self, of merit, or of fame.
extinguish suffering and distress — but note: the avoidance of suffering is suffering.
Not indifferent, but being comfortable being different
Nirvana is the disappearance of the being from the Round of incarnations (samsara), not into a state of annihilation, but simply into a state escaping definition, and thus immeasurable and infinite.
Thus it is said that it takes three long kalpas for lazy and inattentive beings to attain nirvana, while for the fearless and stouthearted, buddhahood comes in a single instant of thought.
If nirvana is not to be found by grasping, there can be no question of approaching it by stages, by the slow process of accumulation of knowledge.
In other words, if nirvana is actually here and now so that to seek it is to lose it, a realization through progressive stages is hardly appropriate.
Nirvana is sometimes called Sameness because it is free from all distinctions, and sometimes the Void because it is free from all conditions.
Nirvana is interpreted as a state of mind empty of all content, ideas, sensations and feelings.
pity / benevolence
the desire that one's own life make others happy
giving living beings delight or happiness
the desire that one's conduct remove others' suffering
Whenever we see others reacting negatively, we know that they are suffering.
My enemy has every right to overcome suffering. Me believing this is real compassion.
the enjoyment of the sight of those who have obtained happiness
rejoicing at seeing beings become free from suffering and gain happiness
the mind that has abandoned both the idea of revenge for injury inflicted by others and attachment to recompense for one’s good deeds.
samādhi: A mental state of concentration and focusing of thought on one object. Also called meditation. Samādhi is usually practiced repeatedly for a long period of time until the practitioner attains enlightenment.
nonduality of the mind in which it is no longer divided against itself
The nondual nature is called the true nature.
mind not threshing about trying to grasp itself
a state of profound peace—the peak of meditation
Samadhi means simply onepointedness of mind, or intense concentration achieved through meditation. (Buddhism)
Huineng’s samadhi is not the same. Not mental concentration. Instead, the state of conscious spiritual emancipation; Enlightenment.
All Buddhist samadhis that lead to liberation are based on the realization of emptiness and not-self.
Nondiscriminating or transcendental wisdom, the understanding of things in their actual realities. One of the six perfect virtues (pāramitās) of a bodhisattva.
Wisdom which sees emptiness. Not a function of our minds, but rater the reality of each thing as it is.
Insight into the unsatisfactory, impermanent, and unsouled nature of conditioning things. (Buddhism)
direct insight into the truth taught by the Buddha, as a faculty required to attain enlightenment.
Huineng’s prajna: Great Wisdom, realization of the Voidness—not emptiness but absolute unconditioned Reality – all of the phenomena of existence
Indian word that means arriving at the other shore.
Heterodoxy in a religious sense means "any opinions or doctrines at variance with an official or orthodox position". Under this definition, heterodoxy is similar to unorthodoxy, while the adjective "heterodox" could be applied to a dissident.
eight heterodoxies [the opposites of the eightfold noble path].
‘A glimpse of truth’ or a sudden moment of awakening; a single flash of insight
Satori is a spiritual orgasm, a spiritual reunion of Man and God. It causes a far more fundamental change of attitude to the outside world.
“Like they say in Zen, when you attain Satori, nothing is left for you in that moment than to have a good laugh.” —Alan Watts
Koans ease the way to finding Satori.
Huineng’s (6th Patriarch of Ch’an) satori occurred spontaneously, without the benefit of a master
Satori stands in contrast to confusion.
Satori is letting go, not the feeling of letting go.
Planned surprises are as much of a contradiction as intentional satori.
The skandhas (literally “heaps” or “piles,” but most often translated as “aggregates”) are the basic constituents of the personality. Five are typically identified: form (really matter—the physical body), sensation, perception, disposition (behavioral and cognitive), and consciousness. But the term “skandha” indicates two features of this decomposition that must be born in mind to avoid confusion: The division is practical and empirical, and not philosophically principled, and the skandhas themselves are decomposible into further heaps, etc. These are not, hence, ontological fundamentals, but rather the first level of a psychology.
There is no deep doctrinal or philosophical point that hangs on dividing the properties or capacities of humans this way.
The doll, like a straw dog, was made for the sole purpose of being destroyed.
They were cast away when they were no longer needed. Consider provisional dharmas.
As humans, you are disposable
Kings and paupers eta and breath, live and die. You don’t buy your way out. In this sense, the universe is indifferent.
Born alone; die alone; alone = the great leveler
the quality or state of being such: essential or characteristic quality. Suchness signifies immutability.
suchness is the essence of thought, thought is the function of suchness
English suffix “-ish,” e.g. Tigerish
defining whole-quality or Gestalt (an organized whole that is perceived as more than the sum of its parts)
There is no exact English translation, but the German word Gestalt roughly means "shape" or "form," or the wholeness of something.
Buddhism: nameless and characterless reality in its ultimate nature — called also tathata, thusness
When we say “that,” we are pointing to the realm of nonverbal experience, to reality as we perceive it directly, for we are trying to indicate what we see or feel rather than what we think or say. Tathata therefore indicates the world just as it is, unscreened and undivided by the symbols and definitions of thought. Tathata is also referred to as our true or original nature, and thus our “Buddha nature.”
The world of “suchness” is void and empty because it teases the mind out of thought, dumbfounding the chatter of definition so that there is nothing left to be said. Yet it is obvious that we are not confronted with literal nothingness.
Thusness consists in not being subject to becoming or to destruction. Thusness consists in not being seen and in not being heard.
hard training that leads to enlightenment
“determined training that fosters enlightenment”. Its purpose is to “tighten the slack”, toughen the body, and polish the spirit.
“emptiness,” or nondualism in the Buddhist practice.
Empty of inherent existence.
Empty of any characteristics by which we might describe it. This is because it is a single, undifferentiated whole, and the moment we begin applying terms to it, we create dualisms that immediately do violence to that unity. Hence even the term emptiness itself must in the end be rejected, since it implies that there is something outside of emptiness that is not empty.
Emptiness is a mode of perception, a way of looking at experience. It adds nothing to, and takes nothing away from, the raw data of physical and mental events. You look at events in the mind and the senses with no thought of whether there’s anything lying behind them.
Emptiness does not mean non-existence; it means interdependent existence.
The emptiness of the cup depends on the cup and on the conceptual designation “emptiness.”
The true dark night is that of the spirit, where the
"subject" of all higher forms of vision and intelligence
is itself darkened and left in emptiness: not as a mirror, pure of
all impressions, but as a void without knowledge and without any
natural capacity to know the supernatural. —The Zen Revival
The conventional (Saṃvṛti-satya) and the real (paramārtha-satya) are one.
The conventional and the ultimate are a relation. This relation is vexed because the conventional truth is sometimes referred to as truth and sometimes as wholly false. This leads to a nihilistic interpretation.
Ultimate truth is realized when one identifies with things and penetrates them harmoniously, for then things in their concrete reality do not oppose it; and when this very reality is rendered selfsame with the ultimate, for then empty Nature does alter their individual reality. —Sengchao
Thus, it is not that nothing exists; rather, things are not substantially real things. And since they are not substantially real things, what is there that could possibly be conceptualized as a thing? —Sengchao
The Buddha said, ‘There are two types of good roots. One is permanent and the other is impermanent. The buddha-nature is not permanent and not impermanent.’ Therefore, not to eradicate is said to be nondual. One type [of roots] is said to be the good, and the other is the nongood. The buddha-nature is not the good and not the nongood. This is called nondual.
of itself so
equated with natural law
organic order, as opposed to mechanical or legal order
the universal principle of order, which cannot be stated in terms of law (tse)
Li whose emblems are the Moon and the mirror.
the “principle” or ultimate reality underlying the multiplicity of things.
our biochemical character
energy of the body
life energy, or life spirit, a vital force that flows through all living things.
related to the breath, but more than this.
The nearest Western equivalent to qi energy is inspiration.
Stagnant qi means you will get sick.
Qi is responsible for muscle movements and involuntary acts.
Qi is paired with blood
Blood is said to be is a denser form of Qi, and more Yin in nature.
While Blood engenders Qi, Qi is said to command or move the Blood.
atman = the something inside us that does not change; self
The Atman is that by which the universe is pervaded, but which nothing pervades; which causes all things to shine, but which all things cannot make to shine. . . .
we are attached to things: both good and bad
aversions, opinions, ego, attitudes, poses, affectations
abandoned the idea of revenge for injury inflicted by others
abandoned attachment to recompense for one's good deeds
if you can smile in the face of failure, you are not attached
When people are attached to their thinking, they seldom have insights.
the dull, monotonous round of mechanical pleasures and meaningless pains.
is natural that man feels attached to things around him—his
property, status, honor, family, and so on. However, if he clings to
these things, he has various mental sufferings. If he should attain
such a state of mind as to be able to renounce them at any time, his
mind becomes free from them. Because of not being attached to
anything, he can lead a peaceful life with his family, can use his
property usefully, and can make the best of his station in life.
—A Modern Interpretation of The Threefold Lotus Sutra, Translated by Nikkyo Niwano
are in the saddle
And ride mankind.
. . . “the wicked” means here not robbers and murderers, but all us ordinary, greedy, self-seeking creatures who want pleasure without pain, profit without loss, life without death.
. . . but he who has anything has given hostages to fortune. Only he who has nothing has all things; he has everything and nothing can be taken away from him.
The devils who push us into the pit and the angels that raise us to paradise, are the same; and what are they? All the things in the world.
Fear or hatred (they are almost inseparable) of the world is a form of attachment to it. It is commoner than generally suspected, found, to some extent, in the hearts of every one of us.
attachments are afflictions
Mind is stained by attachment, but it is a stain that can be wiped clean. When mind is stained by attachment, materiality is there; when it is free from stain, immateriality is there.
Budhha = awakened one
To find a Buddha all you have to do is see your nature. Your nature is the Buddha. And the Buddha is the person who's free: free of plans, free of cares.
The Buddha is a product of the mind.
A Buddha isn't one sided. The nature of his mind is basically empty, neither pure nor impure. He's free of practice and realization. He's free of cause and effect.
A Buddha doesn't observe precepts. A Buddha doesn't do good or evil. A Buddha isn't energetic or lazy. A Buddha is someone who does nothing . . . .
Bodhisattva = (in Mahayana Buddhism) a person who is able to reach nirvana but delays doing so out of compassion in order to save suffering beings.
Buddhas don't save Buddhas
A pratyekabuddha or paccekabuddha (Sanskrit and Pali, respectively), literally "a lone buddha", "a buddha on their own", "a private buddha", or "a silent buddha", is one of three types of enlightened beings according to some schools of Buddhism.
Arhat, (Sanskrit: “one who is worthy”), Pali arahant, in Buddhism, a perfected person, one who has gained insight into the true nature of existence and has achieved nirvana (spiritual enlightenment). The arhat, having freed himself from the bonds of desire, will not be reborn.
Cause and effect may be separated by a long time, but they are not divided into two. (Mutual arising) Nor is an event isolated. A chicken begets an egg and was begotten from an egg. A man can be both a father and a son. It’s a chain. Similarly, the term ‘chain’ is used when describing the time between cause and effect—a chain of events. So a butterfly’s wings flap, and through a chain of events, a hurricane is created.
Causality is a genetic connection of phenomena through which one thing (the cause) under certain conditions gives rise to, causes something else (the effect). ... A cause is an active and primary thing in relation to the effect. But "after this" does not always mean "because of this".
Thus, a cause is a relation between phenomena.
According to Hindus, cause and effect are the same thing viewed from different vantage points. The effect is latent is the cause.
Every “effect” pre-exists.
Max Plank – In conclusion we may therefore say: The law of causality is neither true nor false. It is rather a heuristic principle, a signpost — and in my opinion, our most valuable signpost — to help us find our bearings in a bewildering maze of occurrences, and to show us the direction in which scientific research must advance in order to achieve fertile results. The law of causality, which immediately impresses the awakening soul of the child and plants the untiring question ‘Why?’ into his mouth, remains a lifelong companion of the scientist and confronts him incessantly with new problems. For science is not a contemplative repose amidst knowledge already gained, but is indefatigable work and an ever progressive development.
“Which came the first, egg or hen?” When this
absolute and unavoidable interdependence is known and felt in the
very depths of one’s being, then you have what Oriental
philosophy calls the realization of unity with Tao or Brahman, which
it describes as understanding that the self and the not-self are two
appearances of one fact which cannot be known apart from its
Law → the enlightening truth of Buddhism
“Dharma” is one of those very convenient words which can mean almost any thing you like —R.H. Blyth
the Doctrine, a single aspect of the Doctrine, a principle, a law, method, idea, thing, or entity of any sort whatever.
The Dharma is the truth that all natures are pure. By this truth, all appearances are empty. Defilement and attachment, subject and object don't exist. — Bodhidharma
The essence of the Way is detachment. And the goal of those who practice is freedom from appearances.
. . . there is absolutely no way of describing the Dharma of the One Mind.
Doctrines, precepts, concepts, things—all of which vanish with thought’s cessation
The Dharma is the transmission of the mind with the mind.
The sudden teaching of birthlessness
The Dharma is without sudden and gradual; it is people that are clever or dull, therefore the names sudden and gradual. — Huineng
The Dharma is without comparison, because it is without mutuality.
Karma does not mean “cause and effect.”
When someone says, “It’s your karma,” they simply mean “It’s your doing.”
Karma means "action," “work,” or "deed." What happens is our doing. What is happening to us, we are doing. It isn't happening to us. Our actions are.
Karma from the Buddhist standpoint is a straightforwardly deterministic process and not a matter of accounts kept by a cosmic accountant.
According to this doctrine, all the moral acts of an individual, whether good or evil, have an inevitable effect on the individual’s life and well-being, though it may require more than a single lifetime or existence for the effects to become fully apparent.
There’s no karmic responsibility or punishment, no great bureaucracy of karma meting out rewards for good behavior, in this life or the next. Karma isn’t something to believe in; it’s just a descriptive word for action. There’s no point in looking for cosmic meaning or justice.
When Buddhists talk about karma, they mean action—action arising from a motive and seeking a result—the type of action that always requires the necessity for further action. Any action becomes a cause of the events that will follow—the effects, and they in their turn become the causes for something else again.
Man is involved in karma when he interferes with the world in such a way that he is compelled to go on interfering, when the solution of a problem creates still more problems to be solved, when the control of one thing creates the need to control several others.
Karma even good karma, leads to rebirth and prolongs the wanderings of the supposedly individual entity; for when good karma has worked itself out in consequent enjoyment, the individual is as far from understanding the One Mind as ever.
Buddhism does not share the Western view that there is a moral law, enjoined by God or by nature, which it is man's duty to obey. The Buddha's precepts of conduct-abstinence from taking life, taking what is not given, exploitation of the passions, lying, and intoxication-are voluntarily assumed rules of expediency, the intent of which is to remove the hindrances to clarity of awareness. Failure to observe the precepts produces "bad karma," not because karma is a law or moral retribution, but because all motivated and purposeful actions, whether conventionally good or bad, are karma in so far as they are directed to the grasping of life. Generally speaking, the conventionally "bad" actions are rather more grasping than the "good." But the higher stages of Buddhist practice are as much concerned with disentanglement from "good karma" as from "bad."
Every moment of our lives represents the causal consequences of, inter alia, all our prior actions. No action “lies dormant” waiting for its consequences to emerge. Nor does any action somehow become “canceled” when some salient consequence is noticed.
Kenshō (Japanese) is a term used in Zen traditions meaning: seeing into one's true self nature.
Seeing the Buddha nature.
The primal essence that lies at the heart of our true, nondualistic essence—our Buddha nature, an awareness of our unlimited infinite potential, a potential that lies at the heart of all sentient beings.
The one true teaching—all other teachings are encompassed within this.
Kenshō is an initial insight or awakening, not full Buddhahood. It is to be followed by further training to deepen this insight, and learn to express it in daily life.
The term kenshō is often used interchangeably with satori.
a paradoxical anecdote or riddle, used in Zen Buddhism to demonstrate the inadequacy of logical reasoning and to provoke enlightenment.
A paradox is not a pun to be resolved by explaining the double meaning. It isn’t an attempt to mystify. It arises from the inability of language to say two things at once. The meaning escapes the words.
Koans provide concrete, not abstract, answers to clear the mind of cant. The difficulty of Zen is, of course, to shift one’s attention from the abstract to the concrete, from the symbolic self to one’s true nature.
Intended to “throw you off” with an unusual response
Koans are an energetic means of exhausting the strength of the egoistic will.
A response that is given is instantaneous thought—no artificiality, conceptualization, or dualistic idea could ever arise from it. Through the realization of this "instantaneous mind" one is freed from all bondage and suffering. In Zen, instantaneous, there is no gap between the mind and the action.
For the parable with its metaphorical form is a chance to circumvent the intellect and its pedestrian logic.
The intellect is like armour, it guards us from mistakes, but it cannot warm us, cannot give us the life it protects.
The intellect supposes it can understand life, but it can only understand intellectual things.
[…] the intellect must not be divided from the energy of the personality and work in vacuo, or as a substitute for the activity of the person as a whole.
Mondo = question and answer.
Any religious question answered by a Zen teacher. Many koan stories consist of mondo exchanges that were considered worth keeping for others to use.
A mondō (問答, Chinese: wèndá) is a recorded collection of dialogues between a pupil and a rōshi (a Zen Buddhist teacher).
Zen tradition values direct experience and communication over scriptures.
Koan practice was more of an oral tradition than a written one. The textual form of a koan, in isolation, rarely suffices as a tool for meditative practice. (So, be careful when reading a book of koans not to be discouraged.)
kuan = wordless contemplation; silent contemplation
observe silently, openly, and without seeking any particular result
no duality of seer and seen – simply seeing
kuan is not so much a mind empty of contents as a mind empty of mind. It is experiencing without the sense of the seeking and staring subject.
direct perception of the concrete achievement of a thing in its actuality
relaxed openness of sensitivity in every direction—no mind—no strain of the mind to watch for a particular result.
“That which keeps the mind steady and produces the proper effect.” — Swami Satchidananda
Repetition is called “japa.”
Both Hindu and Buddhist
The manifold world of facts and events, and illusion that veils the one underlying reality of Brahman.
Classification is precisely Maya.
The world of facts and events are terms of measurement rather than realities of nature
Setting bounds of all kinds, e.g. definition and delineation are acts of division, thus duality
A boundary can be considered in terms of joining or of separating. (To join is as much Maya as to separate.)
Our ego is abstracted from our past memory, but the past has totally disappeared.
We must cultivate dispassion, realizing that none of the attractive or unattractive attributes of things have any absolute existence.
Mind is the inexpressible Reality beyond the reach of conceptual thought and discriminatory thought activity. Mind conveys intangibility. Reality is figuratively divided for the purpose of discussion, but that division is not the whole reality.
Mind is the Buddha, the absolute. Individual mind and body are nothing. Bodhidharma firmly believe in being one with the real ‘substance’ of the universe in this life.
The essential Buddha-Substance is a perfect whole, without superfluity or lack.
Mind = that ‘substance.’ Mind knows no divisions into separate entities; phenomena must be equally undifferentiated. The entire void stretching out in all directions is of one substance with Mind; and, since Mind is fundamentally undifferentiated, so must it be with everything else.
In Chinese, hsin means not only mind, but heart, and in some sense soul or spirit as well. Mind is the so-called “real” man, the inhabitant of the body-house.
Principle of direct pointing to the mind
Mind is the totality of mental life and activity which includes heart and brain
Psychologically speaking the mind is the self. Don’t look without, don’t allow your attention to be distracted by the multiplicity of external phenomena. Look within.
The depths of your consciousness.
the existence or nonexistence of anything, depends on the mind.
Bodhidharma said: “Mind, which is our real nature, is the unbegotten and indestructible Womb; in response to circumstances, it transforms itself into phenomena.”
Mind is imperishable. All the myriad forms are contained in mind.
At the same time, mind is both real and empty.
Real – all experience is a manifestation of the mind
Empty – not a lasting, single, independent entity. Instead, mind is a stream of fleeing, dependently arising moments of consciousness.
A stream of moments of consciousness with a knowing and known aspect.
Buddhism says that suffering stems from believing there is a self that is lasting, single, and independent. On closer inspection, no such self can be isolated or found. The self is a convention.
God is to be found equally everywhere.
A doctrine which identifies God with the universe, or regards the universe as a manifestation of God.
reality is identical with divinity
Baruch Spinoza, particularly his book Ethics
The first moment of recognition of input through the senses.
Everything that arises in the mind is conditioned by what has gone before.
abiding means continuing for a long time, or enduring
e.g. an abiding interest in nature
the division of something conceptually into two opposed or contrasted aspects, or the state of being so divided.
The struggle between opposites.
Dualism is intellectually inevitable
labels and classifications of duality are mere conveniences, mere ornaments within the One Mind, mere empirical concepts and conceptualization.
Happiness and unhappiness are situated in the world of objects to be attained. Their duality stems from the world of time, just like good & evil and right & wrong.
Zen says, as in the Shinjinmei (Hsin Hsin Ming), all forms of dualism, right and wrong, good and bad, gain and loss—get rid of them all, forget them.
Nondualism primarily refers to a mature state of consciousness, in which the dichotomy of I-other is "transcended", and awareness is described as "centerless" and "without dichotomies."
Yinzong said, ‘Why did you not discuss samādhi and emancipation?’ I said, ‘Because the dualistic dharmas are not Buddhism. Buddhism consists of nondualistic dharmas.’
Your own fundamental nature is neither born nor extinguished.
Logic and meaning, with its inherent duality, is a property of thought and language but not of the actual world.
Anything beyond causality is infinite
The klesa-mind produces the concept of a basic duality and from that all other names and concepts follow. None of these conceptualized entities exist.
Klesa-mind = Kliṣṭamanas, or defiled mental consciousness or afflicted consciousness, is the seventh of the eight consciousnesses presented in the Yogacara school.
Selective Attention is thought which is analytic, divisive, and selective.
Units of attention are things, events facts—an act of discovery
“Things” are the measuring units of thoughts.
We actually see/hear infinitely more than we think about.
After selection (primary) we signify thoughts with words (secondary). This is abstraction.
The narrow slit in the fence is much like the way in which we look at life by conscious attention, for when we attend to something we ignore everything else. —Alan Watts
Attention is narrowed perception. It is a way of looking at life bit by bit, using memory to string the bits together—as when examining a dark room with a flashlight having a very narrow beam. —Alan Watts
Attention (choiceless awareness, all-inclusive, excluding nothing) is not the same as concentration (exclusion, focusing).
Perls saw a clear difference between introspection and awareness.
Awareness was the "spontaneous sensing of what arises in you—of
what you are doing, feeling, planning." Introspection, on the
other hand, was considering the same activities in an "evaluating,
correcting, controlling, interfering way."
—50 Psychology Classics (Tom Butler-Bowdon)
This is considered a large number. The myriad things all pursue their spontaneous course.
the best actions in the best manner —R.H. Blyth
Manner is the outward expression of our state of mind.
The poetical and the religious are identical states of mind, in which every thing is seen to have its real value, that is, an absolute value, which cannot be compared to that of any other thing.
R.H. Blyth suggestions that religion means the finite become the infinite. Religion is “the way we do things,” therefore, religion is the infinite way we do finite things.
From Wandering on the Way (Chuang Tzu and Victor H. Mair):
To summarize this survey of Chinese thought during the Warring States period, we may say that the Confucians were primarily interested in family relationships as the model for organizing good government, the Mohists were preoccupied by societal obligations, the Yangists were concerned with the preservation and enhancement of the individual, the Sophists were consumed by questions of logic, and the Legalists were focused wholly on the advancement of the ruler and his state. In opposition to all of these were the Taoists who viewed human society and politics as inevitably corrupting and sought to merge with the Way by returning to nature as contemplative quietists and hermits.
Taoism's central organizing principle is the interconnectedness of all life, with its flow of continuous change.
Confucianism & Taoism were big around 500 B.C.
There is no articulated orthodox belief system with Taoism.
Taoism did not grow of supposedly divinely inspired teachings of a single leader.
However, the story of Lao Tzu has taken on strong religious overtones since the Han Dynasty, which had Confucianism as the official philosophy.
Taoism is observation of nature and discovery of its “way.”
In awe of nature itself—not a/the “creator” of nature.
Nature cares nothing for the deaths of brave men or cowards.
Taoism’s aspiration is not to understand nature, but to observe nature and harmonize with nature.
Taoism is not concerned with dominating nature.
Taoism is an acceptance of and conformance with the world’s fundamental natural energies.
Taoism attempts to loosen the bonds that bind us, to free us from time.
Human happiness is achieved when one follows the natural order acting spontaneously and trusting one’s intuitive knowledge.
For Lao Tzu the method of happiness lies in attuning and aligning oneself to the eternal principle of the Tao as it manifests through you and all other manifestation. In order to do this we must eliminate desire and attachment, and practice "daily diminishing."
Taoism saw life as fundamentally good in its natural state
All of Taoism assumes at base that the human being is already at variance with the Tao, and that all the techniques of Taoism have been to help individuals regain the harmony with Tao that should have been natural.
Taoism views the universe as impersonal
‘There are four things that do not leave people in peace’ says the Lieh Tzu ‘trying to live for ever, needing to be known, wanting high status, desiring wealth.....their lives are controlled by the external.
The Taoist is moral because the Taoist life is both non-intrusive and non-grasping. Equally the Taoist does not proselytise or seek to convince, offers compassion but does not set out on a mission to relieve suffering. Non-involvement leaves others free. The Way is open to anyone who finds it.
intuitive (whereas Confucianism is rational)
Taoism is acceptance of your life.
One need not engage in fanatical denial of any part of life.
Extremes (opposite poles of yin/yang; not wu wei)
Taoists like to avoid extremes.
The extremes get all the publicity.
The body’s nature tries to compensate for extremes and can overcorrect. This can be detrimental.
There is often a deceptive resemblance between opposite extremes. Lunatics frequently resemble saints, and the unaffected modesty of the sage often lets him seem to be a very ordinary person.
Excesses bring sad consequences.
To be arrogant implies the limit is reached; to be humble suggests that the limit has not, and hence, to increase in strength.
The Taoist works as necessary to sustain his life, and stops when he has achieved the essential.
“Taoists are empirical. They test their beliefs in the world, and everything they believe is up for questioning and reexamination at any time.” —Scholar Warrior: An Introduction to the Tao in Everyday Life
Taoism does not derive authority from higher powers. It’s based upon direct observation and relies on pragmatic appeal when addressing its constituents.
You’re going to be here awhile, so learn and enjoy yourself. Buy the ticket; take the ride.
Taoists are not “set in their ways,” unlike other strict religions.
Taoists do not proselytize.
Winnie The Pooh — Simply is, and simply does.
A Taoist will dance to chaos.
The Taoist cultivates detachment from the world’s affairs and concern for the unchanging and eternal.
Taoism is NOT about not setting goals. It is about not being attached to the results & outcomes.
Taoism has no plans.
The essential message of Taoism is that life constitutes an organic, interconnected whole which undergoes constant transformation. This unceasing flow of change manifests itself as a natural order governed by unalterable, yet perceivable laws.
Prefer obscurity and solitude, not seek public office, even though the Tao which “inwardly forms the sage outwardly forms the king.”
water — finds and follows a path; creates a channel for itself in doing so. Conforms to an obstacle and gradually, patiently, erodes and incorporates it into its path.
wood — Spontaneous growing, seeking a means of surviving
fire — natural process of destroying—the law of entropy
metal — process of cutting through
earth — process of nurturing and sustaining
Four principles basic to Taoism:
Three Treasures of Lao Tzu
Taoist spontaneity is the ability to adapt immediately to whatever circumstance presents itself.
From the very beginning, Taoism has enjoyed an almost rebel-like status. Unlike the elitist and aristocratic rituals associated with Confucianism, Taoism promoted self-cultivation and autonomy.
Taoism is generally a pursuit of older men, and especially of men who are retiring from active life in the community. Their retirement from society is a kind of outward symbol of an inward liberation from the bounds of conventional patterns of thought and conduct. For Taoism concerns itself with unconventional knowledge, with the understanding of life directly, instead of in the abstract, linear terms of representational thinking.
of tendency, by which all things seek to fulfill the law of their
— Matthew Arnold
is a mental attitude. It is not a system of thought because it
denies the validity of systemisation. It is not a religion because
in its pure form it has no use for divinities. It is not a rigorous
discipline because it seeks to evade inappropriate goal-driven
behaviour. Analysis and definition, naming and theorising are
anathema to it. Taoism denies the validity of the scientific
project. It denies the validity of the work ethic. It denies the
usefulness of ambitions and desires, grasping and craving.
—Like Water Or Clouds (A. S. Kline)
discarding the superfluous, through eliminating inappropriate desires.
that studies, gains something every day;
he who follows the Way, loses something every day.
gains = collects opinions about things
lose = self-respect, our immortal souls, our wish to live, our pleasure in life
To those who say ‘My life feels empty’ Taoism would respond by saying ‘That is because you are trying to fill it.’
A Taoist might sit down to meditate with a Zen Buddhist, but he'd get up and quit when his legs started to cramp.
Confucianism & Taoism were big around 500 B.C.
The official philosophy of the Han Dynasty.
The crucial difference between Confucius and Lao Tzu is their attitude toward self-cultivation. To Lao Tzu, the Confucian method is excessive; it creates problems by preferring the "good to the bad," by over emphasizing the effort of "self-cultivation."
A continuing engagement with the world in its social aspects, Confucianism was a philosophy of social organization, common sense, and practical knowledge.
Suggests the universe is benevolent
Confucians were moral absolutists stressing duty, righteousness, justice and humaneness, benevolence.
Confucius felt that much of the present disorder and corruption was the result of selfish actions and a neglect of past traditions and past behaviors.
Rational (whereas Taoism is intuitive)
Confucianism overemphasizes rituals at the expense of ethics
Concerned with the linguistic, ethical, legal, and ritual conventions which provide the society with its system of communication.
Confucianism saw life as sour, in need of rules to correct the degeneration of people. Confucianism emphasized the use of ancient rituals and a strict moral code to establish social and political order
The right response was to worship the ancestors. Ancestors were the direct link to heaven. They could be petitioned or appeased when necessary.
Taoists saw Confucianist scholars as busy ants spoiling the picnic of life.
While Taoism and Buddhism inspired personal and cultural goals, the influence of Confucius was core to public life.
Confucianism served China as an ethic of engagement, while Taoism and Buddhism provided a private and personal way of life.
“Threading together into one the desires of the self and the desires of the other”
Could be called an “ethical tao” or “tao of man.”
A manifestation in act of a principle of love and justice.
Identifiable with the Golden Rule
Confucian spontaneity is always goal-directed.
Confucianism, with its emphasis on the social order, was most closely associated with the imperial government; Taoism, on the other hand, was embraced fervently by the common people.
Reasonable, unfanatical, humanistic, Confucianism is one of the most workable patterns of social convention that the world has known.
The Confucian ethic is admittedly human and relative, not divine and absolute.
Blend of Buddhism and Taoism
(Zen) or Meditation school developed out of the convergence of Taoism and Buddhism and remained closer to the Theravada doctrine relying on personal enlightenment and illuminating insight.
Dhyana Buddhism (in Japan)
Soto → emphasis on sitting meditation
Rinzai → visits to master for presenting view of koan
The Four Statements of the Zen Sect (a gatha from Bodhidharma)
A special tradition outside the scriptures
With no dependence upon words and letters
A direct pointing to the mind
Seeing there one's nature, and attaining Buddhahood
The primary criterion of authenticity in Ch’an/Zen, regardless of cultural setting, is enlightenment.
The ultimate goal of Zen is to adapt freely to the world.
Zen is concerned with the experience of the living spirit of Buddhism, and with the transmission of that spirit.
Zen is not for special times alone; it is for all circumstances whatsoever.
Popular because of its strong emphasis on the accessibility of enlightenment to all persons.
The first and most elementary fact about Zen is its abhorrence of this dualistic division between matter and spirit. Zen is the awareness of pure being beyond subject and object. The single aim of the true Zen follower is so to train his mind that all thought-processes based on the dualism inseparable from ‘ordinary’ life are transcended, their place being taken by that Intuitive Knowledge which, for the first time, reveals to a man what he really is.
Zen is direct in its way of teaching, for it points directly and openly to the truth, and does not trifle with symbolism.
Zen begins in a disillusion with the pursuit of goals which do not really exist — the good without the bad, the gratification of a self which is no more than an idea, and the morrow which never comes. For all these things are a deception of symbols pretending to be realities. Zen starts where there is nothing further to seek, nothing to be gained.
Thus it [Zen] is a form of Buddhism suited to those who prefer inward contemplation to the study of scriptures or to the performance of good works.
Zen is most emphatically not to be regarded as a system of self-improvement, or a way of becoming a Buddha.
Followers of Zen believe in the possibility of attaining Full Enlightenment both here and now through determined efforts to rise beyond conceptual thought and to grasp that Intuitive Knowledge which is the central fact of Enlightenment. They feel this experience is sudden and complete. But to attain this reward, the practice of virtue and dispassion is insufficient. It is necessary to rise above such relative concepts as good and evil, sought and found, Enlightened and unenlightened, and all the rest of dualities.
Zen seeks an “enlightenment” which results from the resolution of all subject-object relationships and oppositions in a pure void. It is not an experience of an I—Thou relationship with a Supreme Being considered as object of knowledge and perception. However, Zen does not deny the existence of a Supreme Being. It neither affirms nor denies, it simply is.
Zen is not a system of pantheistic monism. It is not a system of any kind. Symbolism, pantheism, mysticism, religiosity, these are not Zen. Zen is poetry.
Zen is “without words”
Zen does not present clear and definitely recognizable characteristics capable of being set down in words.
There is value in teaching without words.
Words can never express the ultimate truth.
All words pick out a part of reality for purposes of action.
Zen does not object to words simply because they are clumsy tools, but because they are tools; means, not end. Or rather, it is because they are used instead of actions [….] — R.H. Blyth
“Zen is a trick of words.” — Unknown
There is a characteristically Chinese attempt to pack the maximum amount of meaning into the minimum number of words.
But once you see your own nature, the entire Canon becomes so much prose. Its thousands of sutras and shastras only amount to a clear mind. Understanding comes in mid-sentence. What good are doctrines? The ultimate Truth is beyond words. Doctrines are words.
The Doctrine of Words must inevitably precede the Wordless Doctrine, except in certain rare cases. It has been suggested that Zen Masters generally teach persons already familiar with the Buddhist Doctrine.
Words are produced by means of sounds, but sounds are not words; forms and shapes appear to be real, but they are not.
Words are abstractions of things; and inferences are abstractions of words. Ambiguity occurs when inferences are taken for the spoken word and words are taken for the real thing.
“He must, of course, have a knowledge of terms which will enable him to recognize a result when he sees it.”
Judge as bad but do not reject. Judge as good but do not desire. Good is good and bad is bad, but both are necessary; the acceptance of this is the secret of Zen.
on direct experience – to be intimately aware of every moment of consciousness as it arises
openness to a situation
put the conscious, grasping mind aside
Not a religion or philosophy; not psychology or type of science
“A way of liberation”
We are to live with life, and we are to be annihilated with annihilation.
We regulate (temper) imagination with reality
Zen concentrates on the experience of enlightenment without trying to interpret it.
Zen is a living tradition
Zen is the comparison-less life.
Enlightenment in Zen does not mean withdrawal from the world but means, on the contrary, active participation in everyday affairs.
Zen is not a mysticism of withdrawal. The way to enlightenment by withdrawal is definitely closed to it. For Hui Neng all life was Zen. Zen could not be found merely by turning away from life to become absorbed in meditation.
Zen sees everyday life not only as the way to enlightenment, but enlightenment itself.
The true poetic everyday life is the poetic life.
Wrapped in impenetrable darkness, Zen must seem the strangest riddle which the spiritual life of the East has ever devised: insoluble and yet irresistibly attractive.
Abiding place — the place where the mind stops (@ one thing) detained by some matter.
Affliction — stopping of the mind; remaining with one thing or another.
These thoughts about things, this coloring of things by the emotions, that is, the desires and antipathies of the mind—this is what Zen wishes us, above all things, to do away with.
Equal to all circumstances
To act, to speak, before the mind has time to rationalize and find excuses and reason, before the emotions have time to colour and discolour—this is Zen.
Not to imitate flowers or streams, but to be human beings in the same complete, vital way that the flowers blossom and the stream flows.
Unmon said, every day is the best day, every moment is the best moment.
Zen is above all things direct; no intermediaries, no mediators between God and man, no symbolism. —R.H. Blyth
The intellect has gotten into the habit of working by itself, acting like a dictator to the rest of the personality.
Zen begins just at the point where the intellect leaves off.
Beware of Abstractions. That is, don’t be a slave to some definition of life, e.g. men who die for Freedom, kill themselves for Honor, slaughter millions in the name of Democracy or Communism.
Nothing more distinguishes Zen from other Buddhist sects than its emphasis on the concrete (as opposed to abstract).
“His books, his body, his soul—all is gone; he so empty that he can contain anything, everything.” —R.H. Blyth
To contain things, we must empty ourselves.
Zen has in it a kind of gusto, a kind of energy, which shines forth in the smallest thing. Unmon raises his staff. That is all: but it has the power and force of the Niagara Falls, carrying all before it. —R.H. Blyth
Some people speak Zen as if it was synonymous with action. This is misleading. Zen is not action. Zen is the activity of the mind-body as a total entity. Zen is mind-less activity, that is, Mind-ful activity, and it may often be advisable to emphasize the mind, and say, “Take care of the thoughts and the actions will take care of themselves.” —R.H. Blyth
Zen interprets the Round of birth-and-death, not as literal reincarnation where karma shapes the person again and again life after life, but figuratively, as the process of rebirth is from moment to moment. Thus, one is reborn so long as one identifies himself with a continuing ego—an ego based upon memory of the past and that refreshes moment to moment.
Zen doesn’t say that we don’t see or cannot know truth, but rather that we don’t know truth when we are looking at it.
Zen takes a man as he is, and raises him to his highest power. It does not necessarily improve his morals, still less his intelligence.
Zen is the love of truth, a very different thing from the liking of or the preference for truth. — R.H. Blyth
Mysticism and Zen overlap, but are distinct. Mysticism sees the infinite meaning in the (apparently) trivial thing; Zen sees the thing, and no more.
Mysticism uses the object, the finite, as a telescope to look into the infinite. Zen looks at the telescope. – R.H. Blyth
Freedom is doing what you like; but Zen means liking what you do. The doing and the liking are not separate things. Zen is freedom, and those who are free want others to be free.
A mind not to be changed by place and time. The actions change according to circumstances but the mind itself does not change in its nature. It is like water that takes the shape of any vessel but remains water.
It's [Your mind's] like space. You can't possess it and you can't lose it.
If we think of loneliness, or repose, or the Infinite, we are not thinking of the picture at all, we are thinking about ourselves, our own emotions.
One of the appeals of Zen is the charm one gets from the subtlety, refinement, perfection of taste and good order.
The Zen (and Taoist) attitude is that of letting one’s mind alone and trusting it to follow its own nature—in contrast to the more typically Indian attitude of bringing it under rigid control and shutting out the experience of the senses.
Zen from the start attacks the attachment of individual survival
Zen tradition maintains that immediate awakening has been passed down directly from master to pupil.
The practice of Zen is like making a fire by friction. The essential thing as you rub wood against stone is to apply continuous, all-out effort. If you stop when you see the first sign of smoke, you will never get even a flicker of a fire, even though you keep rubbing away for two or three kalpas (a kalpa is equal to 4.32 billion years).
In its stress upon naturalness, Zen is obviously the inheritor of Taoism, and its view of spontaneous action as "marvelous activity" (miao-yung) is precisely what the Taoists meant by the word te—"virtue" with an overtone of magical power. But neither in Taoism nor in Zen does it have anything to do with magic in the merely sensational sense of performing superhuman "miracles." The "magical" or "marvelous" quality of spontaneous action is, on the contrary, that it is perfectly human, and yet shows no sign of being contrived.
Zen is not monolithic and unchanging; rather, it can be regarded as shorthand for a continuously evolving spiritual and historical tradition that varies from one context to another.
“Such non-intellection IS following the Way! Why this talk of attaining and not attaining? The matter is thus—by thinking of something you create an entity and by thinking of nothing you create another.” —Huang Po
Fundamentally no wisdom-tree exists,
Nor the stand of a mirror bright.
Since all is empty from the beginning,
Where can the dust alight
The mind is something I am, not something I own. One doesn’t purify the mind by removing thoughts from it. This is nothing short of an ego-consciousness, clinging and possessive, seeking to affirm itself in “liberation.” In other words, the ego attempts, through meditation, to craftily outwit reality by rejecting the thoughts it possesses. For the ego, “emptiness” becomes an attainment or possession.
1a : a system of religious mysticism teaching that perfection and spiritual peace are attained by annihilation of the will and passive absorption in contemplation of God and divine things.
b : a passive withdrawn attitude or policy toward the world or worldly affairs.
Purifying the mind was irrelevant and confusing because our own nature is fundamentally clear and pure. In other words, there is no analogy between consciousness or mind and a mirror than can be wiped. The true mind is “no-mind” wu-hsin, which is to say that it is not to be regarded as an object of thought or action, as if it were a thing to be grasped and controlled. This is the Taoist philosophy of naturalness, according to which a person is not genuinely fee, detached, or pure when his state is the result of an artificial discipline.
there is no special psychological state to be “achieved’, that the suppression of thoughts is irrelevant, and that the mind is not to be isolated in itself and in its own purity. Purity is without shape and characteristics.
Instead of purifying or emptying the mind, simply let go of the mind, for the mind is nothing to be grasped. This is equivalent to letting go of the series of thoughts and impressions that come and go, neither repressing them, holding them, nor interfering with them.
Master Hui-neng is a timeless old mirror in which the realms of heaven and hell and the lands of purity and impurity are all reflected equally. A realm in which there is no coming and going, no birth and death.
Zen is a liberation from time, for if we open our eyes and see clearly, it becomes obvious that there is no other time than this instant, and that the past and the future are abstractions without any concrete reality.
Not to isolate things/objects in their own forms. The subject-object relationship, which cherishes its own thoughts/opinions about them, has now been transcended. When I ascribe “familiar” and “comfortable” to objects or places, these opinions are attachments. Though there is the act of seeing, the object is not to be designated as something.
Hui-neng’s philosophy is not a mere technique of withdrawal, negation, and passivity.
Two major traditions
Mahayana — now practiced in a variety of forms especially in China, Tibet, Japan, and Korea.
As Mahayana Buddhism spread north through Tibet and China, it took on more local customs.
not so much a theoretical and speculative construction as an account of an inner experience, and a means of awakening the experience in others.
Zen is a modern expression of Mahayana Buddhism.
Theravada — associated with South East Asia and is perhaps closer to the original Indian form of Buddhism.
Theravada Buddhism is more conservative. It places importance on the original Pali language as the birth language of the Buddha. Pali is used in worship.
Buddhism did not come to China until 100 A.D. It would introduced into China by Indian and Tibetan missionaries.
Gautama Buddha lived in a time in which the major Upanishads (Hinduism) were already in existence.
Buddhism is a transcending of the world of transient phenomena.
Phenomena = those things that arise, remain/abide, and cease (in the conventional/relative world)
One of the most fundamental tenets of Buddhist philosophy is that all phenomena are dependently arisen.
Buddhism fundamentally rejects causality in the sense of absolute essence.
Effects, like their conditions, are ultimately nonexistent from the “ultimate” POV
Buddhism saw life as bitter, dominated by pain and suffering
1st noble truth — life as we normally live it is suffering (sickness, old age, and death). Life is bedeviled by the peculiar frustration which comes from attempting the impossible.
duhkha = frustration
anitya — the more that one grasps at the world, the more the world changes
anatman — there is no Self (separate from others), or basic reality, which may be grasped, either by direct experience or by concepts. The self is not an object of belief, desideratum, or a foal that can be reached—nothing that can be clutched as the final abode of safety in the flux of life.
2nd noble truth — relates to the cause of frustration, which is said to be trishna, cling or grasping, based on avidya, which is ignorance or unconsciousness.
opposite of awakening; the state of the mind when hypnotized or spellbound by Maya
primordial ignorance – neither bright nor dark, because those terms are dualistic.
3rd noble truth — an end of self-frustration, of grasping, and of the whole viciously circular pattern of karma. A cessation of dukkha. Cessation (ending) of this dukkha can be attained by eliminating all "craving, desire, and attachment."
dukkha — commonly translated as "suffering", "pain", "unsatisfactoriness" or "stress."
nirvana — the end of suffering; the goal of the Buddhist path; literal meaning is "blowing out" or "quenching.”
commoner cravings — sensual indulgence, material gain, worldly fame
4th noble truth — dukkha (self-frustration) is brought to an end through the 8-fold path
The individual soul, self, or ego is actually an illusion
Aims at universal salvation. The highest virtue of a great man consists in delivering all beings.
Goes back to single founder (unlike Hinduism)
A doctrine of psychotherapy
Three covetous passions (poisons of the mind) are as follows. To leave the three realms means to go from greed, anger, and delusion back to morality, meditation, and wisdom.
(1) covetousness (lobha,rāga,avidyā);
desire, greed, sensual attachment, sensuality
(2) malice (dvesha,dveṣa, dosa);
Aversion, ill will, hatred, anger
(3) ignorance (moha)
Delusion, confusion, absence of enlightenment
Delusion is seeing the impermanent as permanent, the unsatisfactory as satisfying and the impersonal as belonging to or defining a self. So anytime selfhood arises delusion arises too.
Although there is belief in angel (deva) and demon (preta), supreme "awakening" or Buddhahood can be attained only from the human state.
beings cast their seeds;
Because of the earth the fruits are born.
Insentient objects have no seeds,
No natures, and no birth.
The Dharma, moreover, is the transmission of the mind with the mind. [The mind] must always enlighten itself, emancipate itself.
Buddhism is not a tradition about going to some other place where things are how we like them.
A Buddhist might say don't listen to music, because attachment to pleasure incites the flames of desire. A Taoist might say go ahead and listen to the music, but realize when the band is done, just go home.
Three bodies of the Buddha. Lin-chi considers these just names, not a goal. In the end, these three point to no one but yourself.
Dharmakaya – the Dharma of the omnipresent voidness of the real self-existent Nature of everything.
Essence-body – pure Dharma or suchness, transcending personality.
Cannot be sought through speech or hearing or the written word.
The absolute truth in unimaginable perfect form
Dharmakaya is equivalent to the Tao in Taoism
Sambhogakaya is the Dharama of the underlying universal purity of things.
Bliss-body – the Buddha endowed with infinite attributes of bliss or reward gained through his practices as a Bodhisattva.
The highest concept of absolute truth of which unenlightened human beings are capable — an underlying purity and unity
Nirmaakaya is the Dharmas of the six practices leading to Nirvana and all other such devices.
Transformation-body – the Buddha as he appears to ordinary believers.
The various methods by which we hope to obtain perception of absolute truth.
Forms – Generally in Buddhism the word “form” means all forms, everything that is perceived, and we are warned that these are temporary manifestations of an illusory character.
These are all classified under the four:
origination / birth
continuance / age
change / illness
destruction / death
Even the teachings of the Buddha are empty and should not be clung to as irrefutable truth.
general, morally good actions are done for the sake of pleasure for
others; morally bad actions sacrifice others’ good for one’s
—The Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way: Nagarjuna's Mulamadhyamakakarika, tr. Jay L. Garfield
Brahmanism is the complex sacrificial religion that emerged in post-Vedic India ( c. 900 BC) under the influence of the dominant priesthood (Brahmans), an early stage in the development of Hinduism.
The Hindu Brahman is equivalent to the Tao.
God (Brahman) is not personal, not in charge of the whole universe and informed as to every detail of its operation.
Indian knowledge concentrates on negation, on liberating the mind from concepts of truth.
The highest Yajna is the Atma-Yajna or Self-sacrifice in which we offer the ego into the Self.
God gives birth to the world, and man, following the divine pattern, reintegrate themselves with God.
By an act of self-abandonment, God becomes all beings, yet does not cease to be God, like an actor absorbs himself in a role.
For Hindu thought, there is no problem of Evil. The conventional, relative world is necessarily a world of opposites.
The practical discipline (sadhana) of the way of liberation is a progressive disentanglement of one's Self (atman) from every identification.
All duality is falsely imagined.
Brahman — without duality; without opposite; outside any class
Although all segments of society in ancient China (the common people, particularly) viewed the Daode jing as a guide to self-cultivation, it was written primarily as a guide for rulers. It promoted the image of the ideal ruler who governs small agricultural communities according to the “Tao” (which has been translated as “Way”).
Two interwoven texts
The Tao — philosophical
The Sage — instructs how to rule (hands off approach)
it’s profundity is extremely resistant to being summarized
The Tao Te Ching was addressed to the sage-king; it is basically a handbook for rulers. The Chuang Tzu, in contrast, is the earliest surviving Chinese text to present a philosophy for the individual.
The book of changes
one of the principal texts of divination and embodies many of the Taoist attitudes about the Way.
eschews any propitiation of gods or spirits
The Tao Te Ching is extremely terse and open to many different interpretations. The Chuang Tzu, on the other hand, is more definitive and comprehensive as a repository of early Taoist thought.
The Zhuangzi is a collection of charming and often humorous prose that illustrates the teachings of Laozi in metaphorical parables.
The Zhuangzi emphasizes the act of self-cultivation, that is, the fulfillment of the individual in accordance with the Tao. Differing from the Daode jing, the Zhuangzi glorified the sage as opposed to the ideal ruler.
The Chuang Tzu is an exposition and critique of the intellectual debase that were going on during the Warring States period in China.
Confucius’ teachings are most directly revealed in the Analects
The Zenrin Kushu is an anthology of some five thousand two-line poems, compiled by Toyo Eicho (1429-1504). Its purpose was to provide Zen students with a source-book of verses from which to select couplets expressing the theme of a newly solved koan. Many masters require such a verse as soon as the proper answer to the koan has been given. The couplets have been drawn from a vast variety of Chinese sources-Buddhist, Taoist, classical literature, popular songs, etc.
Watts says this contains some passages of remarkable clarity.
Ma-tsu = Baso (Mazu Daoyi)
Tung-shan = Tozan (Dongshan Liangjie)
Yun-men = Unmon (Yúnmén Wényǎn, Yunmen Wenyan)
Huang Po = Obaku (Huángbò Xīyùn, Huangbo Xiyun)
Chao-chou = Joshu (Zhàozhōu Cōngshěn, Zhaozhou Congshen)
Lin-chi = Rinzai (Linji Yixuan)
Studied under Huang Po
Hui Neng = Dajian Huineng, Dàjiàn Huìnéng, Daikan Enō, Hyeneung
commonly known as the Sixth Patriarch
Daito – a beggar under a bridge who founded a major monastery
Known for capping phrases (see book called Zen Sand)
A Capping Phrase (着語/箸語 jakugo), or 下語 (agyo) of a kōan is a proof of solution of the case riddle, but not the solution itself.
Chinese Ch’an Master Hui Hai
Commonly known as “The Great Pearl”
Wrote “The Essential Gateway to Truth By Means Of Instantaneous Awakening,” which is excellent.
Confucius – Kǒng Fūzǐ
Mencius – Mengzi – ardent supporter of Confucius
Nāgārjuna (ca 150–250 AD)
Considered the most important Buddhist philosopher after the historical Buddha himself.
One of the most original and influential thinkers in the history of Indian philosophy.
Han Feizi – founder of legalism
Everything worthwhile in life is won through surmounting the associated negative experience.
“Forces of harmonious change”
Trying to be one-up on the universe.
The universe is a single expression.
The Golden Mean — the sage avoids excess, extravagance, and indulgence.
To aid those who are extended expressions of my nature.
It is better to have too little than too much, and better to leave things undone than to overdo, because even though one may not get very far, one is certain to go the right direction.
If there really is no reason to do anything, then there is also no reason NOT to do anything.
If you begin with concessions, there will be no end to them.
Practice = realization, not a means of attainment or creation
Paying service to an impulse can lead to untoward consequences.
[Suffering] is permanent because the wider and deeper our life, the more the suffering. Christ himself was “A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.” Buddha did not cease to suffer when he arose from under the Bodhi-tree. — R.H. Blyth
It is this metaphor [samsara], suggesting that all unenlightened existence amounts to going around in circles despite the illusion of progress, that captures the sense in which all of human existence is suffering.
Not indifferent, but being comfortable being different.
Sin — Sin is simply a limiting factor that limits your consciousness and fixes it in an inappropriate condition. — Campbell
True enough, all moments are holy, equally holy, but we cannot feel them so.
Where are you coming from? A hippy phrase from the sixties.
Is the base love and compassion? Or selfishness?
A perfect leader needs a good heart.
To spread joy, you have to have it.
Yoga – state of the union
yogi – someone who has realized yoga (that state of the union)
Logic produces no fruit
Acceptance — letting go — embracing diversity.
Pain is an inextricable thread in the fabric of life.
You can hardly know that all other paths to enlightenment are wrong w/o knowing all other paths, and I do not believe that one human can know all paths.
Sneaking up on Taoism is the Taoist way. You ease into it gently.
Convivial conversation = friendly, lively, and enjoyable
T’ao Chien = Tao Yuanming
Without the decorations common for sacred texts.
Drinking wine is a means of escaping excessive introspection.
Theravada — world denying doctrine. This may suit me better than Mayahan. Or Zen, which blends Buddhism and Taoism.
We cannot escape the observer. We cannot escape ourselves.
No-knowledge – indescribable and born of silence
Not to seek is to rest tranquil. Who told you to eliminate anything? Look at the void in front of your eyes. How can you produce it or eliminate it? — Huang Po
Growing older, conscious of an unsatisfied yearning
Constitutionally unable to find satisfaction in home life
Concentrate the mind on the object until the self vanishes
Our greatest enemy is our sense of time.
Division, separation, categorization, definition, analyzing
Once we divide the world into ideal and real, imagination and reality, everything becomes a meaningless struggle, there is no central unity to be seen, it is simply a vast tragedy of Nature making a fool of Man.
Enjoying nature without intervening in it is a means of escaping analysis and definition.
Existence is not an attribute of things.
you don't always have an obligation to correct someone else's mistakes.
Not to believe, not to follow, not to own.
My quiet mind makes no subtle plans
They had sought refuge from the world; became immortals, never returned
Stopped telling stories and instead gave people moments
Gliding half in light, half in shadow
control — other people have ruled my world without even knowing it!
What they loved in their mother was not her bodily figure but what had given animation to her body.
People here speak another language, but the birdsong’s just like my country’s.
Not to want longevity, but rather health, happiness, and contentment.
We don’t see the interior, but the surface. The surface is just as real as what lies beneath it. They reveal one another.
Deities don't want to listen to mortals.
Since some people are naturally perceptive and some are not, and some have great ability while other have less, there is a correspondingly great variety in the teachings that Buddhas impart to them.
Not a real Pure Land but only a provisional manifestation
The Controlled Accident — doing exactly the right thing without force or self-conscious intention
Debt of gratitude to their predecessors has been repaid in full
It is to the west that sun, moon, and stars all return. In the same way, it is to the one universal mind that all the thoughts, fears, and discrimination of sentient beings return. It is thus one single mind, calm and undisturbed. It is thus one single mind, calm and undisturbed.
When you are at the end of your life, and you have no more moves to make, then yes—become resigned to your fate. But you are not there yet. You have many more moves left.
Meditate upon the bow, the arrow, the target.
Bodhi – Enlightenment or Supreme Wisdom. Bodhi is no state—the Buddha did not attain to it.
Rather than beat your horse for being unruly, why not chastise yourself and train your mind right?
Ever desireless . . . .
Words are only guideposts. Never let the words or symbols get in the way of truth.
Every man fights his way through other men’s words to find his own truth.
Nothing satisfies an individual incapable of enjoyment.
. . . who become absorbed in trivialities.
“A fool who persists in his folly will become wise” — The importance is the persistence, not the goodness or badness; following your instincts to the bitter end, not behaving like a virtuous machine.
Feel yourself as the whole process and pattern of life.
Greek proverb → The half is often greater than the whole.
yugen – Japanese
when the vision is the sudden perception of something mysterious and strange, hinting at an unknown never to be discovered, the mood is called yugen.
a subtle order of beauty whose origin is dark and obscure.
meditation → At certain times, you don’t let the senses apprehend. Just look, just breath, just hear, just be. De-focus. Be in the present. Step beyond the stage of thought.
no delusive discrimination
no conceptual thought-processes.
. . . divisions, separations, categorizations, definitions, analyzing
Meditation may be defined as the persistent and methodical attempt to see Reality within. Ordinarily our attention is directed outwards, towards the world. When we take up the practice of meditation, however, we learn to withdraw our attention from external objects, to disengage the senses from their respective stimuli, and to centre attention within.
samsara, the transient universe, is like a whirling chaos
Three Worlds → The Three Worlds will vanish if you can reach the state beyond thought.
Formlessness → Formlessness is not the Great Void.
Hear scriptures on the high pine.
The moving white mists of Spring.
The nature of meaning has more to do with developing character in the face of suffering than with happiness.
Entitlement is just a “high,” not happiness
Parading is just a “high,” not happiness.
Pleasure is a by-product of happiness. Do not seek pleasure.
Happier through less . . .
appreciate what you have
simplify & clear out the clutter
Happiness is a choice, not a destination.
Action & planning make you effective; but they do not make you happy.
for you must remember that men undertake enterprises on the
strength of probability alone and without any real knowledge as to
what will bring them happiness.
5 Spiritual Faculties
Faith (conviction) is faith in the Buddha's awakening.
Wisdom (understanding) refers to discerning the Four Noble Truths.
Vigor (Energy/persistence; kinetic activity) refers to exertion towards the Four Right Efforts.
Can become neurotic restlessness
Concentration (contemplation; Stillness of the mind)
Mindfulness, the remaining faculty, being by its very nature incapable of going to extremes – one can’t have too much mindfulness – requires no counter balancing faculty to hold it in check. Mindfulness it is, indeed, that keeps faith and wisdom, and vigour and concentration, in a state of equilibrium. ‘Mindfulness is always useful,’ the Buddha once declared.
You’re either winning, or you’re learning
If you screw up 1,000 times, the universe will give you 1,001 chances.
When fulfilled, there is nothing more to learn.
Taoists give up learning (of limited societal definitions)
Buddha / Buddhahood (not specifically Gautama Buddha)
The word ‘Buddha’ is used as a synonym for the Absolute as well as in the sense of Gautama, the Enlightened One, for it is held that the two are identical.
A Buddha has transcended all dualities whatsoever, and thus it would mean nothing to him to think of himself as a superior person or a spiritual success. – Watts
Science doesn’t seek truth so much as it seeks assertibility.
“To be sure, the closer a concept approximates the unattainable reality, the greater will be its usefulness.” – R.G.H. Siu
Investing time, or hurrying through mundane tasks, was a mistake.
Feel and enjoy the mundane as a simple pleasure.
Be here, now.
There is no escaping.
This too shall pass—true for bad times and good times
We have access to the whole totality of the past and future.
The present moment is all we have.
Every moment is a unique configuration of what is. The past configuration neither exists nor returns. The future configuration does not yet exist and is in its entirety unknowable. The moment is itself imprecise.
No valid plans for the future can be made by those who have no capacity for living now.
Our happiness depends upon the condition of the mind. If we are thinking about our aches and pains, they get worse. If we set the mind free, the aches and pains of the body are no longer a concern. Looking forward and backward increases our distress 1000-fold and blinds us to the present good.
Life / How to live life
happily embrace the absurdity of life
to play and sing and enjoy beauty and proclaim truth and wear fine clothes and eat good foods.
The only real treasure is life itself
Life is more than going to work and paying bills.
Life is hard and there will always be some who cannot adjust themselves to it.
If you go through life looking for guarantees, you will live life small.
"if there really is no reason to do anything, then there is also no reason to not do anything;" —Mark Manson
everything we hear we judge from our frame of reference
Seek / Searching
We’re looking for the great reward, but with the Tao, it’s already here.
Give up on searching and striving—what we need is already here.
We, too, will ultimately find what we seek, not by thinking and planning and analysing, but by listening softly to the wisdom within. — Serenity Book
Taoists know when enough is enough—and that is surprisingly little.
He who knows he has enough is rich.
When the mind is too full, it cannot accept anything else.
Sufficient; all that is required, needed, or appropriate.
Satisfied — people can be in a perpetual state of dissatisfaction.
Had my fill; need no more.
Simplification, removal of extras and extravagance, leads to enough.
Curb craving; curb aversion
Do not increase my “store” of life beyond what can be used.
Overindulgence never leaves you satisfied. You never feel you have had enough.
Not able to overcome the thirst for fame and substance.
Works as necessary to sustain his life and stops when he has achieved the essential.
Things that last long enough to be named.
A Taoist knows when they have enough. We Westerners want MORE.
For some people, no amount is ever enough.
When you have enough, you can walk away from what others continue to grasp for.
Our needs are met @ each level, but we keep wanting more.
The struggle toward the peaks is itself enough to fill a man’s heart.
Dialectic may be briefly defined as "repeated and thorough criticism of our assumptions." Start with results then reason backward—what must be true in order that these results may occur? In every case, what are the implications?
Socrates conviction was that error is eventually obvious, providing we keep probing, whereas the truth can be consistently elaborated without contradiction.
Inappropriate and inessential
soul — The belief in a soul, whether in its Eastern or Western version, is transcendentalist because it posits another reality beyond this mundane world of sensory experience.
life after death
eliminating inappropriate desires
discarding the superfluous
Still the mind
avidya — disturbed mind, ignorance
You are forbidden to think about it.
Six precepts of Tilopa (988-1069)
A.S. Kline's Like Water or Clouds
“Without mind, without meditation, without analysis, without practice, without the will, let it all be so.”
Alan Watts & Alex Wayman
No thought, no reflection, no analysis,
No cultivation, no intention;
Let it settle itself.
The mind is this Void where thoughts and feelings pass like the birds in the sky without leaving a trace.
Calmness that is legendary.
Icons and statues are not needed to get there.
Release myself from myself.
Shift ones energies to what fulfills.
Not to prove oneself to others.
Do not struggle, but move toward harmonious balance. My own inner nature, as an expression of the Tao, will of its own accord move toward harmonious balance.
kronos, a time that is no time, just an enduring state of being. A deeper meaning of dreamtime. When time came into being, so did birth, death, and consumption of other living beings. Decay and aging.
eternity is in love with the production of time — Blake
the god who becomes many inside us
eternity is beyond all categories of thought
But Gautama Buddha had found in himself that still point within, which is of eternity, untouched by time.
Eternity isn’t some later time. Eternity isn’t even a long time. Eternity has nothing to do with time. Eternity is that dimension of here and now that all thinking in temporal terms cuts off. And if you don’t get it here, you won’t get it anywhere. —Joseph Campbell
immunity to all addictions
There is noise. Explore those moments within the noise where there are moments of silence, peace, calm, and serenity. The spaces between.
Accept being unimportant
moving effortlessly and naturally along life’s path. Others may not be on my path, and that’s OK.
The whole economy of his organism was deranged, but his mind was calm as ever.
Not to be unduly angry, upset, irritated, or frantic.
Rather, fill that time with enjoyment.
One cannot control external circumstance, but one can control how they react to it.
More deep breaths, more little breaks, send positive E-mails to people, speak good things.
Even if I don’t “feel” like doing something, I can do something. Ignore negative emotions, or put them off to the side. Eventually something positive will come along.
Politicians offer solutions based upon narrow emotionality to get votes.
Saying, “I am this” “I am not this”—leads to frustration, confusion, and fragmentation
The highest aim for Hindus, Buddhists, or Taoists — to become aware of the unity and mutual interrelation of all things.
To transcend the notion of an isolated individual self, and to identify themselves with the ultimate reality.
It’s easy to kill someone you see as “not like you.”
It’s easy to degrade someone you see as separate from yourself.
Removing the illusion of separation
Unity and love is the heart of any spiritual path. Anything else is justifying poor behavior.
consciously experience myself as part of the unity of life
not motivated by a sense of separateness
Unity; God; the immovable that moves all things
rule by mind = steady as the North Star
Lao Tzu encourages us to not give in to our doubts and fears
Before doing new projects, attend to the old projects
If I choose it, I am responsible for it; and although it may be painful, it can be powerful.
Simplicity and discipline go hand in hand.
They were no match for Zhenwu’s perfection.
perfected in his harmony with the constantly changing power of the Great Way, or Tao.
Neither death nor life make any change within the Perfect Man, so how much less should the consideration of advantage and injury do so?
The best leader is invisible. Everything just gets taken care of.
Entrance into life occasioned them no joy; the exit from it awakened no resistance.
They accepted their life and rejoiced in it.
That which makes my life good makes my death good also.
You do not even understand life. How then should you understand death? —Confucius
We are all sentenced to death with an indefinite reprieve. —Victor Hugo
Death is that which gives life its value, as the blackboard gives meaning to the white chalk marks on it.
We do not understand the nature of death because we try to understand it, to reason about it, divide the flow of life into two, life and death, good and bad, loss and gain.
Once you have passed the barrier of life-death, you go safely through the forest of Relativity. — Engo
The wood is consumed to ashes, but the fire, the principle of combustion, is immortal. So men appear and disappear, but the flame of existence burns forever.
No ruminating — no naming my problems because this defines them.
Repetition cements them in.
Be selective in your battles. Sometimes peace is more important than being right.
Condense the energy of the Tao to fuel and regenerate the internal furnace.
The Tao charges the forms and processes of Heaven and Earth, Yin and Yang.
principle (li) and vital matter (qi)
Pour into it without being filled; pour from it without being exhausted; all the while not knowing whence the supply comes. The “store of light.” Become the vessel.
brings you to the sacred space in the heart. The Tao is there. You can experience it there.
concentrating on an object
“It is always a serious mistake to undertake it in the spirit of a compulsive discipline to be ‘practiced’ with a goal in mind.” — Alan Watts
To sit, to think, to come to profound realizations.
Words are limiting. More words counts less.
If you’re talking all the time, you’re going to miss much of reality coming into existence.
A multitude of words is tiresome.
Get the bigger fish from the deeper waters of meditation
An immersion into “what is.”
Compared to the entire universe—your squabbles turn insignificant
Do not try too hard at this. You cannot try to attain something. Not: “as you practice, so shall you attain.”
Tod’s windshield wiper motif: clean, erase, erase
The more one concentrates on breathing, the more the
external stimuli fade into the background. They sink away in a kind
of muffled roar which one hears with only half an ear at first, and
in the end one finds it no more disturbing than the distant roar of
the sea, which, once one has grown accustomed to it, is no longer
perceived. In due course one even grows immune to larger stimuli,
and at the same time detachment from them becomes easier and
The demand that the door of the senses be closed is not met by turning energetically away from the sensible world, but rather by a readiness to yield without resistance.
Meditation takes a day to learn and a lifetime to ripen.
invisible and unnamed
at best a shadow or brilliance
The essences of Taoism and Buddhism are the Vortex and the Void, respectively, that which cannot be captured, and that which cannot be described, the nameless and the featureless.
potentiality of everything
All opposites are resolved
Great Void is perfection wherein is neither lack nor superfluity, a uniform quiescence in which all activity is stilled, overspreads, penetrates, and IS all. (This is like Tao instead of ‘void’ in the sense of flux where all forms are seen in dissolution.)
Great Void, in which there is neither unity nor multiplicity—that Void which is not really void; that Symbol which is no symbol.
created by the void
the visible and the named
Bodies alter imperceptibly
Rivers alter their course
Clouds rise and vanish
The tensions between involvement and non-involvement.
show up and participate
Wait without purpose in the state of highest tension, like a leaf catching snow, then releasing.
“The shot fell from you like a ripe fruit.”
Limiting my interactions with others has allowed more peace to bubble to the surface. This may not be happiness, but it's good.
The person who is not involved: The years roll along bringing less and less vitality with which to cope with realities.
Care about things
To not care about adversity, failure, embarrassment in the face of goals, you must care about something more important than adversity.
To not care about everything unimportant in life
When a person has no problems, the mind automatically finds a way to invent some.
It follows that finding something important and meaningful in your life is perhaps the most productive time and energy spent.
Maturity is what happens when you care about what truly matters.
Men and women transcend mortality by finding meaning in life.
Nature is indifferent because it lacks awareness.
the infusion of nature and solitude.
There are energies you cannot get any other way than from “the land.” Your body will leach from some other way. It is necessary to be in harmony with nature.
Taoism virtues or character traits. Practice these to attain union with the Tao. This is akin to recapturing childhood naivete.
ziran = spontaneity or naturalness
wu wei = non-action
people believe something because they have a reason to believe it, not based in rational or logical fact
some people aren’t looking for facts
attacking them simply cements it further
Do not try to change 1 person’s mind—get involved in the movement
The state of the world
Avoid the strife based upon fear, greed, and ambition
The world is a mess; it always has been a mess; it will always be a mess.
There is profit in conflict, in misery, whipped up into hysteria
There is profit in being sick
A tree that is useful never grows to full potential.
People are very willing to give up their authority.
Others are willing to take advantage of others for material gain.
Creative liberation of the human state—we have to claim and own our own freedom.
We’re subverted, then realize it later in life.
You see the Matrix. You see the cage. Where did this cage come from? And who holds the key? (We hold the key.)
Other people have gone down this same liberation path, and they will support you. You are not alone.
the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to
man as it is, Infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees
all things thro' narrow chinks of his cavern.
have never seen anyone who loved virtue as much as he loved
blame because it gives a temporary high and a feeling of moral