I respectfully disagree with a primary tenet of Buddhists. Buddha's adherents should remember his teaching to question everything, including him.
I think he intended to say men will suffer only as long as they continue to act the way they do. But suffering is not inevitable. Men could change their behavior. Men could teach other men to change their behavior. Suffering's a condition of man's consciousness, his inability to accept, his stubbornness to move with the forces of fate, his insistence to defy his core, his persistence to knowingly and willfully commit his cherished sins, his conscious will in making mistakes he knows instinctively he should not make, his lack of thoroughness - and many more risky and inferior reasons. Yes, Buddha, "inferior". I question whether men are inferior. This can only explain how man's microcosm is not in sync with the rest of the cosmos, when it could be.
I have no one, no concept, and most certain of all, no angry god, to blame but myself. I do not suffer. I only accept. I bear the responsibility for the the natural consequence of my foolish behavior and inability to listen to my own innate sense of thoroughness. Our destinies are in our own conceited hands in our misguided microcosm of a larger, perfect system of many other equally important microcosms.
z == z2 + C
This map, called the thumbprint of God, is a treasure and is going to change our view of the universe.
Taijitu, diagram of the supreme ultimate, the traditional symbol representing the forces of Yin and Yang. The two are in movement rather than held in absolute stasis. Stillness is the moment between the two.
the art of attack and defense and Lao Tzu's context of full and empty
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Taijitu (Chinese: §”∑•πœ; pinyin: Taìjí tú; Wade-Giles: T'ai4 chi2 t'u2; literally "diagram of the supreme ultimate"), often incorrectly called a yin-yang, is a well known symbol deriving from Chinese culture which represents the principle of yin and yang from Taoist and Neo-Confucian philosophy. The term Taijitu itself refers to any of several schematic diagrams representing these principles.
Wu Jianquan, a famous Chinese martial arts teacher, described the name of the martial art Taijiquan this way at the beginning of the 20th century:
"Various people have offered different explanations for the name Taijiquan. Some have said: 'In terms of self-cultivation, one must train from a state of movement towards a state of stillness. In terms of the art of attack and defense then, in the context of the changes of full and empty, one is constantly internally latent, not outwardly expressive, as if the yin and yang of Taiji have not yet divided apart.' Others say: 'Every movement of Taijiquan is based on circles, just like the shape of a Taijitu. Therefore, it is called Taijiquan.' Both explanations are quite reasonable, especially the second, which is more complete."
The Taiji is understood to be the highest conceivable principle, that from which existence flows. In contemporary terms, the Taiji is the infinite , essential, and fundamental principle of evolutionary change that actualizes all potential states of being through the self-organizing integration of complementary existential polarities. More simply, it is the co-substantial union of yin and yang , the two opposing qualities of all things. In order for 'hot' to exist, so must 'cold'. This applies in Taoist philosophy to all such contrasting systems, including good and evil, although it does not identify either side of the good-evil axis with either side of other axes such as hot-cold or masculine-feminine. From their mutual existence a state of dynamic equilibrium comes into being, which is the expression of the Taiji.
Yin (Chinese: ≥±/“ı; pinyin: y¥n; literally "shady place, north slope (hill), south bank (river); cloudy, overcast") is the darker element; it is sad, passive, dark, feminine, downward-seeking, and corresponds to the night.
Yang (óz/—Ù; yáng; "sunny place, south slope (hill), north bank (river); sunshine") is the brighter element; it is happy, active, light, masculine, upward-seeking and corresponds to the day. Yin is often symbolized by water or earth, while Yang is symbolized by fire, or wind.
Yin (receptive, feminine, dark, passive force) and Yang (creative, masculine, bright, active force) are descriptions of complementary opposites rather than absolutes. Any Yin/Yang dichotomy can be seen as its opposite when viewed from another perspective. The categorization is seen as one of convenience. Most forces in nature can be seen as having Yin and Yang states, and the two are usually in movement rather than held in absolute stasis.
1. Yin and Yang do not exclude each other.
Everything has its opposite—although this is never absolute, only relative. No one thing is completely Yin or completely Yang. Each contains the seed of its opposite. For example, winter can turn into summer; "what goes up must come down".
2. Yin and Yang are interdependent.
One cannot exist without the other. For example, day cannot exist without night. Light cannot exist without darkness. Death cannot exist without Life.
3. Yin and Yang can be further subdivided into Yin and Yang.
Any Yin or Yang aspect can be further subdivided into Yin and Yang. For example, temperature can be seen as either hot or cold. However, hot can be further divided into warm or burning; cold into cool or icy. Within each spectrum, there is a smaller spectrum; every beginning is a moment in time, and has a beginning and end, just as every hour has a beginning and end.
4. Yin and Yang consume and support each other.
Yin and Yang are usually held in balance—as one increases, the other decreases. However, imbalances can occur. There are four possible imbalances: Excess Yin, excess Yang, Yin deficiency, and Yang deficiency. They can again be seen as a pair: by excess of Yin there is a Yang deficiency and vice versa. The imbalance is also a relative factor: the excess of Yang "forces" Yin to be more "concentrated".
5. Yin and Yang can transform into one another.
At a particular stage, Yin can transform into Yang and vice versa. For example, night changes into day; warmth cools; life changes to death. However this transformation is relative too. Night and day coexist on Earth at the same time when shown from space.
6. Part of Yin is in Yang and part of Yang is in Yin.
The dots in each serve:
1. as a reminder that there are always traces of one in the other. For example, there is always light within the dark (e.g., the stars at night); these qualities are never completely one or the other.
2. as a reminder that absolute extreme side transforms instantly into the opposite, or that the labels Yin and Yang are conditioned by an observer's point of view. For example, the hardest stone is easiest to break. This can show that absolute discrimination between the two is artificial.
The Wilhelm/Baynes I Ching is one-half text and on-half explanatory, with an excellent forward by Carl Jung, and notes on the origin of the book. Carl Jung was interested in synchronicity, which is what his interest was in a book that works in uncanny ways. I can tell stories of its synchronistic nature. I have been using it on average every four days for twenty-three years and am still amazed. That's what comes from really getting into something and not just from the surface. Since one digests it in small bits, it requires an affinity rather than a commitment.
But the prime text of the hexagrams is so clear to me, I can't see how anyone would need it explained. The remarks are so pithy and concise and not very open to initial interpretation. And as it becomes part of your thinking and approach to life, it becomes more profound as you reach a new level with a familiar idea and the overall design it shows you in life.
There is one reference to Buddhism in the book by a contributor. And while there are numerous similarities, it notes the distinction between the two religions. Since that's what Lao Tsi did, make distinctions between things. "While Buddhism strives for an ebbing away of all movement in nirvana, the Book of Changes holds that rest is merely a state of polarity that always posits movement as its compliment." (the basis of yoga)
Of synchronicity in the psychology of C. G. Jung, Webster says, "the coincidental occurrence of events and especially psychic events (as similar thoughts in widely separated persons or a mental image of an unexpected event before it happens) that seem related but are not explained by conventional mechanisms of causality."
I don't know much about Buddhism, but I believe there is a strong philosophy of cause and effect in it. While the Book of Changes deals also with cause and effect, since all laws in nature are subject, other things that have effect cannot always be explained fully, starting with Tao. Thus, the sychronicity of unconventional mechanisms of causality, might be at odds with Buddhism. Can anybody clarify this possible difference for me?
I have had synchronous experiences with the book, such as knowing beforehand what it will say before tossing the coins. (I also have prophetic dreams). Also, when a message is extremely important for me to adhere, I have tossed repeated answers in a row, up to four times, and on more than one occasion! If you know the odds of that happening, you see what I mean. It's a complete mystery to me how that is possible. But that is the nature of synchronicity.
In the beginning I was told, The I Ching, Richard Wilhelm/Baynes translation, with forward by Carl Jung, Princeton University Press, 1950, is the best translation for daily use. My experience is that it must be.
My copy was a gift and is now full of notes. I have seen them for sale for under twelve dollars. One of the most incredible bargains in the world.
Whether Taoist or Buddhist, you will appreciate this artist as more evidence of the turn to nature in art and life:
Long accused of the sin of beauty, this exuberant artist has profitably ignored those critics who have confused the dazzling glamour of his work with frivolity or vulgarity. This basically puritanical attitude, which is now something of a mainstream art-world party line, resolutely rejects visual pleasure and condescends to devalue the "decorative." Begging to differ, let me emphasize that the decorative has been Kushner’s great and enduring source of stimulation as well as his connection to endlessly rich cultural traditions.
A great companion book to the TaoTeChing is
Lao Tzi's text, comments by his scholars. easy to grasp because those guys were usually clear.
A Buddhist friend wrote me, "I, too, have noticed that I'm much more even in my moods in recent years. In part, I'm sure, it's the meditation practice. But in part, also, age--and with age, yes, a kind of wisdom. Perhaps the wisdom of increasingly understanding how little I actually know!"
I replied I don't think it's how little you know. I think it's how much more you know than ever before. I've known younger people who are very grounded and even-keeled. They were always wise and older for their age in understanding things. Whereas, the moody ones, like myself, had only the potential for depth, but it was undeveloped still.
With understanding comes the ability to see the tumult in the world as part of a grand design. It's awesome, to use a colloquialism. With that depth, the terrors glance off. And the world becomes a giant idea in the sense of seeing the tranquillity as well. I had the propensity for this state of mind and that's why I responded to Lao Tzu as a teacher. There's a depth to life that most young people are too busy to learn, because they are taking part in society with all it's tumultuous distractions.
We know age affects us in the sense of facing death. I remember when Vonnegut wrote at mid-age, that he felt like he reached the top of a roof, crawled over, and was now beginning to go down the other side. I wonder what he felt as he came closer to the bottom of the other side. It must be peace. And that must be incredibly deep.
I'm sticking with the theme of metta in an effort to make clear in my mind how it works. I would think it preferable to go right to the horse's mouth for counsel. I am curious to know what Buddha himself said about how metta works exactly. Since time doesn't permit me to study two philosophers to that depth, I will speak of my flimsy impression of metta in light of what Lao Tzu said in his texts and is written in Tao Te Ching.
Buddha's and Lao Tzu's spheres of influence intersect to form a large area of light. One such area is Buddha's "happiness" and LT's "joyousness". Extending LT's law of attraction of affinities, he speaks of the different kinds of joy. He speaks of the benefits of gladdening the people. He speaks of the joyous assent needed for the people to follow a ruler, who must secure it from the people by doing what is right. He taught that the greatest thing about making the people joyous is that they keep one another in order.
Bush fails miserably, here too. According to Lao Tzu, it would mean that any joyousness in Bush is not expressed in doing what is right.
Lao Tzu draws a direct connection between one's own joyousness and the joy of others. LT notes that by keeping still within and experiencing joy without, one can prevent joy from becoming excessive, (for even joy will turn into its opposite and turn to melancholy or worse). But importantly, he taught that the joyous mood is infectious. And that one must be able to experience joy himself before he will affect others. As of all his laws, he taught, these forces are not external to things, but internal and joy makes itself felt, that is, it is self-governing. One need only to experience joy and others of like mind will join.
I like that word 'infectious'. Enthusiasm is another form which LT treats as infectious.
This implies that happiness need not even be mentioned. For some people to preach it is not to practice it. This may contribute to the general feeling that American Buddhism seems trendy. Americans too often incorporate ideas superficially. Sometimes it has the effect of a guy walking around saying, "Peace, brother". And the tone of saying happiness to this or that can seem a little ingenuous. Since joy is a silent force, in this regard, the expression of joy, begs another important discussion. And for me, an artist, it is an important area in communication.
Love works were there are affinities, like two tones which when played together, vibrate together in a pleasant sound. This is in accord with a universal law of attraction.
I like to think of this as three-dimensional spheres, multitudes of affinity spheres, which overlap, or merge, and intersect partially where things are in agreement. Your sphere merges dimensionally with those who return your loving concern.
The influence works when we put out a thought or a feeling, or even just a look in our eyes, of creative consideration. Extending good will and friendliness affects the sphere of any who will respond because of the natural affinity and common ground. Compatible intellects intersect and since they have dimension, they are like spheres of agreement and influence. And when they strike a note of recognition in the other intellect, a permanent or temporary bond occurs. Thus some spheres are in motion and changing where they intersect. Others are more stably attached over more time.
So, when things that are meant to be together are drawn together, even if the spheres intersect ever so little, a light is born at the intersection. That intersection is an area of happiness, a source of happiness, when two intellects harmonize in accord. That light is one kind of happiness. Volumes of words could and have been written about that light.
A good thing to remember is that a wicked man's sphere may intersect with a good man's sphere or it may be impossible for them ever to connect. So that many spheres will never intersect. We cannot force it. Or if we try, it may meet with a bad result. This happens when we are unwise.
Another good thing to remember is that one need not even think about it. For the spheres connect naturally without one trying. There is no need to attempt to make them unite. And there is no need to attempt to keep them together. Since everything is as it should be, and if it is not, it is not meant to be, a man need only be receptive and attentive to the comings and goings of his and others spheres of influence and conjunction.
Things that vibrate together, belong together and nothing we can do could further or hinder this already perfect plan.
If you decide to be the best person you can be, it will be recognized by others who share that portion of your sphere. Every part of you shares a sphere with others at the corresponding part. The love will connect in a completely self-realizing way. And your spheres will intersect by as much as however strong that influence is felt. There is no need to will it. No need to put out a vibe. No need to put out metta. Sadness or happiness will be felt and understood when your sadness or happiness corresponds.