The Deep Thinks of Hong Wu - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

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By Hong Wu
#14723108
What is enlightenment? I'm currently aware of two definitions. First is the ability to "quiet the mind" and engage in tasks, sometimes even complicated ones, without thinking in words. This is obviously easier in some contexts than in others, but if you challenge yourself to do it (and I think everyone can do it for at least short periods of time) it can be a very calming and insightful experience. If you come to appreciate how absurd words are and begin to do this often, maybe you have become enlightened.

With that said, a more complicated definition might be better. Science tells us that the brain remembers everything but no one literally remembers everything. People think that they are their consciousness, but there is something that "sits behind us" which chooses what we remember and what we forget. When you encounter people who always seem to forget certain things entirely, the thing behind them may be at work. When someone comes to appreciate that what they think is themselves is really a mask, or a carving, or a puppet created by the one who sits behind them, they may be able to enter into a dialogue with that being and in doing so they may become enlightened. That being in turn has been described in various philosophies as God or a creation of God, as the soul or other things, but any philosophy worth its salt (even modern psychology) agrees that it exists.

I had a dream once where God sent tentacles into the earth (kind of a gross image, I know) and each of us is one of those tentacles. When the tentacle or tendril enters the earth, it gets clothed in a material body and begins to forget itself. The older we get, the more most of us forget but if we can remember then maybe that is enlightenment.
#14723675
People should only be compared to similarly situated people and professionally they should only be compared to other people in the same profession.

I've seen scientists compared to actors, this isn't really fair since acting is a completely different field. This doesn't mean that actors are immune, I still remember when the guy who plays Iron Man got high and held a press conference about how he had successfully divided by zero or whatever he was going on about. That guy was an actor who thinks he should be a scientist because he plays one on TV. It goes both ways and no one should be subjected to unreasonable expectations.

I think that if someone holds fast to this rule, life gets much simpler. And there's no real limit to how far it applies. Midgets should only be compared to other midgets, blind people to blind people, a blind person exceptional enough to become a musician should only be compared to other blind musicians and so-on.
#14723706
I still remember when the guy who plays Iron Man got high and held a press conference about how he had successfully divided by zero or whatever he was going on about.

I once successfully divided by zero too. Unfortunately, it caused the entire Universe to suffer an infinite recursion loop and crash to the BSOD. Fortunately, I phoned up Microsoft Customer Support and they were able to reboot the Universe, and no-one was any the wiser. So that's alright then. :)
#14723741
Hong Wu wrote:What is enlightenment? I'm currently aware of two definitions. First is the ability to "quiet the mind" and engage in tasks, sometimes even complicated ones, without thinking in words.

No, just to quiet the mind won't do. And trying to look at what's before concepts crystallize is like a pup trying to catch it's own tail. You have to look at things as they are, tathagata. Human concepts are just that, human concepts, not a separate reality they pretend to point at. The habit of dualistic thinking is deeply ingrained.
#14723933
Yawn....
[s]What is enlightenment? I'm currently aware of two definitions. First is the ability to "quiet the mind" and engage in tasks, sometimes even complicated ones, without thinking in words. This is obviously easier in some contexts than in others, but if you challenge yourself to do it (and I think everyone can do it for at least short periods of time) it can be a very calming and insightful experience. If you come to appreciate how absurd words are and begin to do this often, maybe you have become enlightened.

With that said, a more complicated definition might be better. Science tells us that the brain remembers everything but no one literally remembers everything. People think that they are their consciousness, but there is something that "sits behind us" which chooses what we remember and what we forget. When you encounter people who always seem to forget certain things entirely, the thing behind them may be at work. When someone comes to appreciate that what they think is themselves is really a mask, or a carving, or a puppet created by the one who sits behind them, they may be able to enter into a dialogue with that being and in doing so they may become enlightened. That being in turn has been described in various philosophies as God or a creation of God, as the soul or other things, but any philosophy worth its salt (even modern psychology) agrees that it exists.

I had a dream once where God sent tentacles into the earth (kind of a gross image, I know) and each of us is one of those tentacles. When the tentacle or tendril enters the earth, it gets clothed in a material body and begins to forget itself. The older we get, the more most of us forget but if we can remember then maybe that is enlightenment.[/s]
Look, the little guy is crawling. I want you to read Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse, or listen to the audio book

Remember, we are the 1 & 0 simultaneously, quantum reality.
Which reminds me, I gotta retire from PoFo again.
viewtopic.php?f=4&t=162195
#14724386
I've had some great deep thinks tonight. I think that sometimes when we have to suffer for long periods of time, it may be better for us than finding something out all at once. The shock of having deeply held notions, expectations or hopes removed all at once can be worse than having a truth you don't want to accept drilled into you slowly over time.

I also think that a good articulation of the relationship between our spiritual selves and our physical selves may be that we are food for ourselves.
#14724414
Hong Wu wrote:I think that sometimes when we have to suffer for long periods of time, it may be better for us than finding something out all at once.

Did you know that the greatest contribution China made to the development of the Buddhist teaching imported from India was the sudden enlightenment taught by Shen-hui?

Indian Buddhism needed the idea of gradual enlightenment acquired over a long time and/or many reincarnations in order to justify the unjustifiable caste system. That was totally alien to China where, at least in theory, anybody could move to the top ranks of the imperial hierarchy by means of the imperial examinations.

Are you straying form your Chinese roots? ;)
#14724491
China has had caste systems and arguably still has one today (hukou) although it was possible to move between the castes this was usually possible anywhere (sometimes including parts of India). Most of the world has had caste or class systems with various degrees of enforced separation at various points in time.

Still, interesting anecdote about the correlation between imperial exams and sudden enlightenment in chán / zen.
#14724514
Still, interesting anecdote about the correlation between imperial exams and sudden enlightenment in chán / zen.

I agree. The Chinese Buddhists may have been thinking of a parallel between sudden spiritual enlightenment and the way that we suddenly 'see' an intellectual or philosophical point. We may struggle for years to understand a difficult subject and seem to make no headway, until everything suddenly clicks into place, or we gain some vital new piece of information and suddenly we see it, in all its totality. Such sudden insight usually requires years of previous study and thought, of course, otherwise nothing will happen.
#14724520
Hong Wu wrote:China has had caste systems and arguably still has one today

There is no completely egalitarian society. However, traditional Chinese social hierarchy, which did allow for a degree of upward mobility through merit by the examination system (or by trade), was a far cry from the Indian caste system, were you are condemned by birth. You are born into a low caste because you were a thief or murderer in your previous life. There is nothing you can do about that in this life. The only thing is to hope for a better reincarnation in your future life. And revolting against the established order certainly won't get you upgraded in your future life.

Potemkin wrote:Such sudden insight usually requires years of previous study and thought, of course, otherwise nothing will happen.

That is exactly the point contested by the proponents of sudden enlightenment such as Shen-hui, who used the legend of Hui-neng, the 6th patriarch, to argue against gradual enlightenment.

According to the legend, Hui-neng was an illiterate youngster doing lowly work in the Monastery kitchen. When he accidentally overhead the Heart Sutra being recited, he was suddenly enlightened. In the poetry contest for the succession of the abbot, the chief disciple Shen-xui compared the spiritual practice of gradual enlightenment to the assiduous "polishing of the mirror [of the mind]." In his reply which he had secretly written and posted to the monastery gate, like Luther nailed his thesis to the gate at Wittenberg, Hui-neng recited that there is no mirror to start with, ie. there is only sunyata emptiness. The abbot secretly passed his begging bowl to Hui-neng during the night, urging him to escape from the monastery lest he be killed by envious monks.

The point here is that the practice of gradual enlightenment, meditation, etc, turns into a habit that actually prevents enlightenment. Thus, enlightenment can only be reached by abandoning the practice of gradual enlightenment. The mind needs a revolution, not the recitation of dogma.
#14725825
Realistically, the ability to rise in the ranks is sometimes attributable to more alpha males fathering children on beta females. China has been more accepting of this trend than some other cultures...

Deep think of the day: America tries too hard.

In America, the most obvious social problems are related to blacks. Blacks are associated with single motherhood and criminality. Most people are too dumb to honestly walk the line between order and racism; they either hate all blacks, or else they accept all blacks and want to let the drug dealers out of jail and so-on, even though that would be horrible for the better blacks, because that way they feel safe from accusations of racism, or maybe they are genuinely too dumb to distinguish between what I will not shy away from calling the "good blacks" and the "bad blacks". Yet "black" itself is merely a sometimes synonym for "lower class people". America tries too hard to be good and so we get either racism or "soft on crime" liberals. It's sad and the fundamental problem is not really a black problem even though it is often portrayed as such.

The connection to my next point is tenuous but ultimately, it's impossible for everyone to succeed in every way. In China it's illegal to have too many children. Having many children is, rationally and honestly, a good sign of fundamental success. Many people would fail to have many children, or to become rich and famous, even if government or conservatives were not blocking them from being "successful". When a central authority blocks someone from being successful, they have received a plausible justification for their failure that they can provide to friends, family and perhaps most importantly, themselves. Exceptional people will not fall for this delusion but most will. In some ways it is actually kinder to give people a justification for their own failure, since not everyone can be rich and famous with many children. Absolute success for everyone is impossible on a physical level, not because of any government, but if the government is superficially responsible for this fact, order and mental well-being is maintained for the weaker-willed people who lack self-awareness. Although it is not popular to say so, they are even ennobled in a sense by the government's oppression because it socializes their shortcomings. The problem with America is that there is no excuse for failure. In the short term this has made America powerful but long-term social problems are beginning to surface. A culture or perhaps subculture of corruption and "haters" is becoming too widespread to be denied or ignored.
#14725827
Atlantis wrote:There is no completely egalitarian society. However, traditional Chinese social hierarchy, which did allow for a degree of upward mobility through merit by the examination system (or by trade), was a far cry from the Indian caste system, were you are condemned by birth. You are born into a low caste because you were a thief or murderer in your previous life. There is nothing you can do about that in this life. The only thing is to hope for a better reincarnation in your future life. And revolting against the established order certainly won't get you upgraded in your future life.


That is exactly the point contested by the proponents of sudden enlightenment such as Shen-hui, who used the legend of Hui-neng, the 6th patriarch, to argue against gradual enlightenment.

According to the legend, Hui-neng was an illiterate youngster doing lowly work in the Monastery kitchen. When he accidentally overhead the Heart Sutra being recited, he was suddenly enlightened. In the poetry contest for the succession of the abbot, the chief disciple Shen-xui compared the spiritual practice of gradual enlightenment to the assiduous "polishing of the mirror [of the mind]." In his reply which he had secretly written and posted to the monastery gate, like Luther nailed his thesis to the gate at Wittenberg, Hui-neng recited that there is no mirror to start with, ie. there is only sunyata emptiness. The abbot secretly passed his begging bowl to Hui-neng during the night, urging him to escape from the monastery lest he be killed by envious monks.


In the West there is also Jakob Böhme, the uneducated Lutheran shoemaker who compared his sudden illumination to a lifetime in the university. Today he is considered the father of Christian theosophy and in the 16th century he took over Augustine as the leading philosopher of the will.
#14725858
Hong Wu wrote:Realistically, the ability to rise in the ranks

The Master said: '[i]Heaven and Earth are in harmony when everybody fulfills his/her role in life. The sovereign as sovereign, the subject as subject, the husband as husband and the wife as wife ...'[/i]
However, the Master also said: 'When the sovereign is cruel and not benign to the people, the heavens take away his mandate (命) so that the people rise up in revolution (革命: literally change of mandate).' (Banalects, Vol. 2, Section 7, Pargraphs iii to vi)

Donald wrote:In the West there is also Jakob Böhme, the uneducated Lutheran shoemaker who compared his sudden illumination to a lifetime in the university. Today he is considered the father of Christian theosophy and in the 16th century he took over Augustine as the leading philosopher of the will.

All religions have a similar spiritual insight at their source, which is forgotten by the followers who lack that insight and can only see the external shell of a religion.

There are certainly mystics with deep insight in Buddhism, Christianity and Islam; however, I think Hui-neng would qualify the apparition Boehme saw in his youth as just another illusion to be overcome. Zen goes to the very core of human experience. Just like Hui-neng said 'there is no mirror' he would have said 'there is no beam of sunlight in which the structure of universe is revealed' and 'there is no good and evil.' And the 3rd Patriarch Seng Zan would have said "if there is a hair's breadth of difference between the two, heaven and earth are ripped apart."
#14725863
In America, the most obvious social problems are related to blacks. Blacks are associated with single motherhood and criminality. Most people are too dumb to honestly walk the line between order and racism; they either hate all blacks, or else they accept all blacks and want to let the drug dealers out of jail and so-on, even though that would be horrible for the better blacks, because that way they feel safe from accusations of racism, or maybe they are genuinely too dumb to distinguish between what I will not shy away from calling the "good blacks" and the "bad blacks". Yet "black" itself is merely a sometimes synonym for "lower class people". America tries too hard to be good and so we get either racism or "soft on crime" liberals. It's sad and the fundamental problem is not really a black problem even though it is often portrayed as such.

I don't think the root of that problem is that Americans "try too hard to be good". The basic problem is that most people in America, despite their rhetoric of individualism, actually think collectively. When they look at a black person, they don't see a unique individual with unique experiences, unique qualities and unique potential, they simply see a black. They preach the virtues of individualism, and then in the next breath they condemn entire races and entire social classes to the nether darkness. Even more disturbingly, they don't even seem to be aware of the contradiction in their position. The truth is that Americans pretend - even to themselves - to be something which they are not: rugged individualists surrounded by other free individuals who have unlimited scope to achieve self-realisation. As Thatcher put it back in the 1980s, "there is no such thing as society". Yet even a cursory glance at American history or at the current condition of American society immediately tells you that this is not true and has never been true. The social and political problems of American society cannot be resolved, or even properly addressed, so long as this myth of American exceptionalism, of American individualism, persists. Most of these problems are social problems which cannot be resolved merely by every individual "pulling themselves up by their own bootstraps" - the idea is just as fantastical as Baron Munchhausen pulling himself up by his own hair-knot. Human society exists, just as gravity exists.
#14725911
Potemkin wrote:I don't think the root of that problem is that Americans "try too hard to be good". The basic problem is that most people in America, despite their rhetoric of individualism, actually think collectively. When they look at a black person, they don't see a unique individual with unique experiences, unique qualities and unique potential, they simply see a black. They preach the virtues of individualism, and then in the next breath they condemn entire races and entire social classes to the nether darkness. Even more disturbingly, they don't even seem to be aware of the contradiction in their position. The truth is that Americans pretend - even to themselves - to be something which they are not: rugged individualists surrounded by other free individuals who have unlimited scope to achieve self-realisation. As Thatcher put it back in the 1980s, "there is no such thing as society". Yet even a cursory glance at American history or at the current condition of American society immediately tells you that this is not true and has never been true. The social and political problems of American society cannot be resolved, or even properly addressed, so long as this myth of American exceptionalism, of American individualism, persists. Most of these problems are social problems which cannot be resolved merely by every individual "pulling themselves up by their own bootstraps" - the idea is just as fantastical as Baron Munchhausen pulling himself up by his own hair-knot. Human society exists, just as gravity exists.

I think this is pretty similar to what I said, although with a different emphasis. A Taoist might suggest that the problem is a refusal to see things as a whole, aka individualism. I was arguing that they try too hard to be "good" which is to not be "bad" just as to not be bad is sometimes presumed to be good; Lady Wang in Taoism says that all language and writing is an act of separating one thing from another, which might make using language to try and unify futile or perhaps even ridiculous.

Deep think of the night: in Chinese mythology, a transcendent is said to be a human-like or formerly human being who gains magical powers, is generally very happy and kind and lives forever. When the world is in a good state they take part in it and when it's in a bad state they withdraw from the world. The Chinese word and character for this is xiān (most commonly, 仙 is the character). The character 仙 is made up of the radical for person or compassion (rén) on the left and the character for mountain (shān) on the right. The etymology of the word is debated but I think it's pretty obvious that it means mountain person, person who lives on the mountain or person who has climbed the mountain. Xiān (transcendent) rhymes with shān (mountain). More subtly, xī (僖) also starts with the character for people (rén) and means "cautious, merry". So my best guess right now is that xiān means a cautious and merry person who lives on or has climbed the mountain.
#14725914
I think this is pretty similar to what I said, although with a different emphasis. A Taoist might suggest that the problem is a refusal to see things as a whole, aka individualism. To be "good" is to not be "bad" just as to not be bad is sometimes presumed to be good; Lady Wang in Taoism says that all language and writing is an act of separating one thing from another, which might make using language to try and unify futile or perhaps even ridiculous.

I agree. As Plato pointed out, to say that "all things are one" is a self-contradiction. As soon as you utter the word "one", there are now two things - the primal unity, and the word "one". As soon as you name something, you have separated it from everything else and even from its own name. The Dao cannot be comprehended with words. Those who know do not speak, and those who speak do not know.
#14725964
Atlantis wrote:All religions have a similar spiritual insight at their source, which is forgotten by the followers who lack that insight and can only see the external shell of a religion.

There are certainly mystics with deep insight in Buddhism, Christianity and Islam; however, I think Hui-neng would qualify the apparition Boehme saw in his youth as just another illusion to be overcome. Zen goes to the very core of human experience. Just like Hui-neng said 'there is no mirror' he would have said 'there is no beam of sunlight in which the structure of universe is revealed' and 'there is no good and evil.' And the 3rd Patriarch Seng Zan would have said "if there is a hair's breadth of difference between the two, heaven and earth are ripped apart."


The difference between the East and the West is that, for the latter, consciousness is the centre of discernment. When one understands the nature of consciousness, one also uncovers the Will as the spiritual sun of material and spiritual existence. Basically, Western religion rejects the idea that the world is simply illusory, a concept that might be considered primitive because of its origin in the mystical theology of geographically isolated traditions. Buddhism itself is likely a heresy of the Kshatriyas and an example of the degeneration of the Vedas that occurred when it was universally adapted (it is also a dying tradition that is slowly being displaced by Marxism, capitalism, and Christianity; in other words, by Platonic realism). Only two religions, Christianity and Islam, have been successful in this regard and that is because they both concern themselves with the riddle of the Will as the undeniable, redeemable centre of human existence.
#14726047
Potemkin wrote:I agree. As Plato pointed out, to say that "all things are one" is a self-contradiction. As soon as you utter the word "one", there are now two things - the primal unity, and the word "one". As soon as you name something, you have separated it from everything else and even from its own name. The Dao cannot be comprehended with words. Those who know do not speak, and those who speak do not know.

Although Donald might disagree, I think there are a lot of similarities between the big three Greek philosophers and Taoism, to a lesser degree Buddhism. Early Taoists and Aristotle both described a God as something that exists in a perfect state of self-reflection, unmarred by the material world. There are elements of their ideas in Christianity too, but I think that state sponsored religions often contain enough of the metaphysical truth to be enticing and (perhaps more so in the past, when they were different, or closer to the truth) magically effective but not enough of the truth to cause trouble for the state. This is of course the nature of every great lie, to mix your useful lies in with the truth until people can't tell the difference.

I'm not sure that Buddhist philosophy necessarily rejects the will so much as it questions it, but I can't source that right now. I recall reading something about how the Buddha said that men can be greater than Gods because of their potential to unify while being a material being, or something, but I can't recall the exact quote to source it.

Deep think of the day: a lack of initiative in the proles may be a self-preservation method, because if they had the drive to do anything, most of them would use their energy to make drugs and alcohol, then smoke and drink themselves to death with their own products. We see this somewhat often in the west today with people whose lives revolve around making and smoking marijuana instead of spending their energy on better things. It also regularly happens with alcohol although interventions in that case are more likely because the abuse of the substance is more obvious and the deleterious effects manifest more quickly.
Last edited by Hong Wu on 12 Oct 2016 10:17, edited 1 time in total.
#14726052
I may be getting close to finishing the book I'm always working on :) It's about spirituality, religion, philosophy but also about art, which I don't write about much on here since this is a politics forum. Here's an outline of my ideas.

Art is a representation of something else. This is obvious with pictures but it really applies to all art, such as music which is usually meant to convey or represent certain emotions or events.

Martial arts are a very interesting area to me. In some ways they are art because they are also a representation, but of what? As someone who considers himself to have mastered the martial arts, I think that a good martial artist understands that their "art" is unique to their own body. What works for someone with one kind of body will not work for a person with another kind, or what works with one kind of weapon will not work with another kind. As such, the martial art becomes a practice (often with set "forms" that are gone through ritually) which represents the perfected martial nature represented by someone who has mastered their body in this way.

As to religion, we think that we share our religion with other people but it's more like a crystal and we each see one facet of it. If we could really know each other's thoughts, we might realize that practically everyone's religion is different from everyone else's. These individual facets make up the crystal of a given religion that we imagine exists. People are often fairly similar to each other so shared religions often work, but just as often they do not.

When a person perfects their own, individual religion, it becomes a "spiritual martial art" which is unique to them, in the senses of art, martial art and religion as I've described above.

If enough people successfully perfect their spiritual martial art, hierarchies are entered into willingly and happily (instead of being forced), each caste or group may have its own religion or interpretations of religion, shortcomings are forgiven or dealt with and successes praised with equal vigor, this pyramidal structure creates the "holy empire" as it has existed in various places throughout the world in history. This last idea is of course not my own, some people might recognize it from traditionalist writers.
#14726066
Donald wrote:The difference between the East and the West is that, for the latter, consciousness is the centre of discernment. When one understands the nature of consciousness, one also uncovers the Will as the spiritual sun of material and spiritual existence. Basically, Western religion rejects the idea that the world is simply illusory, a concept that might be considered primitive because of its origin in the mystical theology of geographically isolated traditions. Buddhism itself is likely a heresy of the Kshatriyas and an example of the degeneration of the Vedas that occurred when it was universally adapted (it is also a dying tradition that is slowly being displaced by Marxism, capitalism, and Christianity; in other words, by Platonic realism). Only two religions, Christianity and Islam, have been successful in this regard and that is because they both concern themselves with the riddle of the Will as the undeniable, redeemable centre of human existence.

What will are we talking about here? The will to conquer?

I really don't understand why you profess an interest in religion. Your opinions seem to be much more in line with ideologies such as fascism which is devoid of Christian compassion.

That Buddhism may decline is in line with Buddhist historiography which teaches that human abilities to gain insight decline as time moves on. In future, people will no longer be able to understand the true teaching.

As to Christianity, it has become an empty shell and Islam degenerates into an ideology for retards.
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